Dusseldorf lays out plans for Tour de France Grand Départ bid

German city Dusseldorf has expressed interest in hosting the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in 2018

The peloton chases on stage six of the 2015 Tour de France
(Image credit: Watson)

German city Dusseldorf wants to host the start of the Tour de France for 2018. German agency SID, reported on Wednesday that a working group is already looking at the economic feasibility and considering an application to organiser ASO.

The news comes after London pulled its bid to host the Grand Départ of cycling's biggest stage race. That bid was, however, was for the 2017 start and Mayor Boris Johnson said £35m was too much to pay for a one-off event.

Germany, which last hosted the race start in 1987, sees it differently. The scenic helicopter shots of thousands of fans providing tourism and recognition to Yorkshire and Utrecht in the last two years may pull in the western German city.

>>> Boris Johnson reveals he pulled the plug on London’s Tour de France bid

“We told them we were interested last spring and the Town Hall was informed that it would be possible as of 2018,” spokesman for Düsseldorf Mayor, Dieter Schneider-Bichel said.

Geisel formed a working group that in the next month will examine the financial feasibility and benefits to the city. It reportedly will also consider the reasons behind London’s withdrawal.

The Tour began its race only three times in Germany. West Berlin saw off the race in 1987, Frankfurt in 1980 and Cologne in 1965.

Since 1987, German cycling has gone from high to low and back to another high. After the Telekom/T-Mobile doping scandals with Jan Ullrich and Erik Zabel, national broadcaster ARD pulled the plug on coverage.

Andre Greipel wins stage fifteen of the 2015 Tour de France

The success of German cyclists John Degenkolb (left) and Andre Greipel (centre) has rekindled enthusiasm for the Tour de France back home
(Image credit: Watson)

ARD returned after a three-year gap along with the cyclists and teams. André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin) are winning the sprints, John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) the classics, Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) time trials, and Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) and Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin) everything else.

Germany counts two professional teams, Bora-Argon 18 and Giant-Alpecin in the WorldTour. Yesterday, Belgian team Etixx-Quick-Step announced a new deal with German supermarket chain LIDL.

>>> One rider seems particularly excited about Lidl’s sponsorship of Etixx-Quick Step

Dusseldorf already unsuccessfully bid twice, in 2009 and 2010. In 2009, the Tour began instead in Monaco and in 2010, Rotterdam.

The 2016 Tour de France will start from the coastal island of Mont Saint-Michel in Northwest France next July 2. The 2017 start location remains open to bidders, which might still include Manchester and Edinburgh.

Watch: Best of the 2015 Tour de France

The Tour de France's starts abroad

1954 Amsterdam, The Netherlands

1958 Brussel, Belgium

1965 Cologne, Germany

1973 Scheveningen, The Netherlands

1975 Charleroi, Belgium

1978 Leiden, The Netherlands

1980 Frankfurt, Germany

1982 Basel, Switzerland

1987 West-Berlin, Germany

1989 Luxembourg

1992 San Sebastián, Spain

1996 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands

1998 Dublin, Ireland

2002 Luxembourg

2004 Liège, Belgium

2007 London, Great Britain

2009 Monte Carlo, Monaco

2010 Rotterdam, The Netherlands

2012 Liège, Belgium

2014 Leeds, Great Britain

2015 Utrecht, The Netherlands