PARIS (AFP) — A 13-kilometer time trial around the streets of Dusseldorf, Germany will kick start the 2017 Tour de France, handing home rider Tony Martin the perfect chance for an early claim to the fabled yellow jersey.
Martin crashed out of last year’s Tour whilst in yellow, but the pancake-flat course will offer the three-time world time trial champion an immediate opportunity to banish those painful memories.
It will be the 22nd time the “Grand Depart” takes place outside France and the fourth time it embarks from Germany. The last time the Tour kicked off in Germany, however, was from West Berlin way back in 1987.
The second stage, on July 2, 2017, will start from Dusseldorf city centre, with the first mountain points up for grabs at the 6km mark, on the Grafenberg.
The peloton will then make its way back to Dusseldorf one last time before heading to a destination as yet unknown, which will be revealed at the presentation of the 2017 Tour route on October 18.
The attraction of Germany as host to the start of the Tour is not difficult to see.
Germany has the greatest number of stage wins in the last three editions of the Tour de France, led by a golden generation of cyclists such as Martin, Andre Greipel, Marcel Kittel, and John Degenkolb.