The route of the 2016 Tour de France has only just been revealed at a ceremony in Paris on Monday but there is already suggestions a 2017 German Grand Depart in Dusseldorf will become reality. The German city has been linked with the Tour since London pulled out of the bid for 2017.
"Germany is a very important country in Europe. There is a lot of enthusiasm. We are working with several different cities on a return to Germany and I hope that it will become reality," Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme told DPA.
The Tour de France last visited Germany in 2005 with a stage finish in Karlsruhe and stage start in Pforzheim. In the ten years since the Tour's last visit, Germany cyclists have become regular winners at the Tour de France with sprinters Andre Greipel winning 13 stages and Marcel Kittel eight, four in 2013 and four again in 2014. Kittel also wore the first yellow jersey's in those two editions of the race.
"Dusseldorf is known as a sports city. I would be delighted if the Tour de France were to come to this city of sport. It would be nice to experience something like that in my career," said Greipel.
Three-time World Champion Tony Martin has also enjoyed success at the Tour, winning five stages and wearing the yellow jersey in this year's edition of the race and welcomes a German grand depart.
'The hope and wishful thinking is there. It would be awesome for German cycling, the fans and for me of course," Martin said.
Germany has hosted the Grand Depart in Cologne (1965), Frankfurt (1980) and West Berlin (1987).
Stage 9 of the 2005 Tour de France starts in Pforzheim, Germany (TDW Sport)
Gilbert to return to Lotto in 2017?
Philippe Gilbert's contract with BMC Racing ends at the conclusion of 2016 and there is a slight possibility the 33-year-old will return to the Lotto Soudal team according to Het Nieuwsblad. Gilbert had his best season yet in 2011 when he won all three of the Ardennes Classics, Clásica de San Sebastián, Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec, the Belgian national road and time trial titles along with the first stage of the Tour de France.
"Nothing is impossible," team manager Marc Sergeant said of the potential to sign the Belgian rider. "Philippe has always said that he wants to close his career with the team where he has achieved the most success.
"In Richmond I Philippe talked. Of all the people with whom I have worked, he said to me, 'you were those who understood me the best.'"
A stumbling block in any negotiations is the team's ability to pay Gilbert's three million salary but Sergeant suggests that Gilbert "no longer" demands such a salary
Marion Rousse to hang up her wheels
Marion Rousse has called time on her career as a professional cyclist having turned professional in 2010 with Esgl 93 - Gsd Gestion before moving onto Vienne Futuroscope. For the last three seasons Rousse has ridden with the Lotto Soudal Ladies team but rode just the one race this season with her focus on her burgeoning career with Eurosport France. Rousse has also spent time working with ASO and appearing on Tour de France podiums for the most aggressive rider award.
The 24-year-old's career highlight was winning the elite and U23 2012 French national title which remains her sole victory on the road. Rousse's husband is Tony Gallopin, who rides for the Lotto Soudal team, and the two enjoyed a personal and professional moment at the 2014 Tour when Gallopin won a stage and wore yellow and Rousse was working for the race organisers.
Eileen Roe signs for Lares-Waowdeals
Eileen Roe will move on from the Wiggle Honda team after just one season with the 26-year-old inking a deal with the new Lares-Waowdeals team. The British National Circuit Race Champion placed second at the Women's Tour de Yorkshire in May and enjoyed success at several criteriums across the season.
The Lares-Waowdeals team already have 11 riders on its books for the upcoming 2016 season including former Lotto Soudal Ladies rider's Sarah Rijkes and Jesse Vandenbulcke. The Belgian team have announced it will ride Eddy Merckx bicycles in its debut season with further announcements regarding riders and equipment expected in weeks to come.