The Tour of Germany is almost as old as the Tour de France, with the first race held in 1911. But...
The Tour of Germany is almost as old as the Tour de France, with the first race held in 1911. But only the 31st edition will be tackled by the riders starting this Saturday, as it struggled to get some kind of consistency over the years. In 1911 the race ran over 1,500 kilometres and was called "Quer durch Deutschland" or "Across Germany."
After several races doing a real Tour of Germany, the "Deutschland-Fahrt" in 1931 was the first one with international participation and there were a few editions just before the war that were hard-fought and well organized.
Shortly after the war there were races again, with a white leader's jersey, nicknamed "shroud." In 1948 Herrmann Schwartz organized an eight-stage race, with the winner receiving 600 German mark. In 1950 Harry Saager came close to defend his title, but the 10-minute (!!) penalty proved to be too much.
The death of Herrmann Schwartz in 1953 was also the death of the race, but there were several attempts to revive it until the mid-60's, though they ended up being short-lived.
The next serious attempt was in 1979, with millions of spectators and a popular winner in Didi Thurau. Despite some more good results of Germans (Gregor Braun won in 1980, Klaus-Peter Thaler got sixth in 1981 and fifth in 1982) the financial burden was too much and it wasn't until 1998 when the German federation and Upsolut, who also is overseeing the Hamburg Cyclassics, tried it again.
So far so good, the Tour of Germany has been popular in the last few years. Now it remains to be seen if the sponsors stay on board, despite the recent doping scandals. T-Mobile is likely to announce its future plans at a press conference today.
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