Düsseldorf will host Grand Départ of 2017 Tour de France

ASO confirms first German start in 30 years

Düsseldorf has been confirmed as the host of the Grand Départ of the 2017 Tour de France. It will be the Tour's fourth time starting in Germany and marks the first German Grand Départ since Berlin hosted the event in 1987.

Tour organisers ASO confirmed Düsseldorf as the host city on Tuesday morning, and details of the opening stages of the 2017 Tour are set to be revealed at press conferences in Paris and Düsseldorf on January 14.

Düsseldorf had originally intended to tender a bid for the Grand Départ of the 2018 Tour but brought forward its plans after London pulled out of hosting the 2017 Tour, citing costs.

Düsseldorf city council narrowly voted in early November to ratify the bid to host the Tour, paving the way for Tuesday's confirmation from ASO.

The Grand Départ in Germany marks an important step in the country's rapprochement with the Tour de France. Jan Ullrich and Telekom's success in the late 1990s led to a cycling boom in Germany but doping scandals at the 2006 and 2007 Tours had a ruinous effect on the sport's popularity in the country.

There have been signs of recovery in recent years, however, thanks to the rise of Tony Martin, Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb, with national broadcaster ARD showing the Tour de France live this year for the first time in seven years.

"It is certain that Germany is emerging from this period where it had fallen out of love with cycling," Tour director Christian Prudhomme told Cyclingnews last year. "There was a period of crazy love, of amour fou, in Germany and that was then followed by a period of désamour fou. Now we're in a new era that's a little bit between those two sentiments."

The confirmation of Düsseldorf as host of the 2017 Tour comes just days after ASO announced that it would withdraw its events, including the Tour de France, from the WorldTour in 2017 in protest at the UCI's planned reforms of the sport.

The 2016 Tour de France will get underway in Mont-Saint-Michel on July 2.

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