The German city of Düsseldorf is hoping to host the 2017 Tour de France Grand Départ after London recently rejected it. Tour organisers ASO are quickly looking for a replacement after the British capital decided to call off their decision to host it at the 11th hour.
There had already been plans put in place to bid for the 2018 start, but German news agency SID say that a spokesman has confirmed to them that they are looking into the possibility of bringing the Tour’s start to Germany in 2017.
It would be the fourth time that the Tour has visited Germany after first venturing into the country in 1965, when it began in Cologne. It started in Frankfurt in 1980 and then in Berlin in 1987, which would make 2017 the first time that the race has gone to Germany since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Cycling was once a huge sport in Germany and reached its height around the time of Jan Ulrich’s Tour de France victory in 1997 - their only general classification win. However, support in the country took a big nosedive when doping scandals hit the sport and German television stopped showing the Tour de France.
With the success of the likes of Marcel Kittel, Tony Martin and John Degenkolb, the sport has seen a resurgence. This year marked the first since 2011 that German broadcaster ARD showed live coverage of the Tour de France.
Next year’s Tour de France is due to begin in La Manche, while the full course for 2016 is due to be announced later this month.