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Tour de France 2017 to start in Düsseldorf

Organizers of the most famous bicycle race in the world announced on Tuesday that Düsseldorf will host the start of the Tour de France in 2017..

Tour de France 2017 to start in Düsseldorf
The Grand Depart 2012. Photo: DPA

It will be the first time since 1987, when the race started in West Berlin, that the Grand Depart is to be held in Germany.

The competition also previously started in Cologne in 1965 and in Frankfurt am Main in 1980.

The speed of the decision has taken many by surprise, although it was already widely expected that Düsseldorf would be awarded the honour, reports regional newspaper Der Westen.

“The Grand Depart is a great chance for Düsseldorf, for marketing our city, for sport in Düsseldorf and for cycling in the city,” said city major Thomas Geisel.

Geisel also attempted to allay fears about the costs to the city of hosting the event.

“In the agreement between the city of Düsseldorf and the Tour organizers rules have been agreed upon which facilitate an attractive sponsoring arrangement for the local economy,” he said.

When the bid was voted upon in the city council, it passed by the skin of its teeth, gaining a majority of 40 votes to 39.

The event is set to cost around €6 million and was criticized in November by the German Cyclists' Federation (ADFC) for the high cost.

Speaking to The Local in November,  ADFC North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) spokeswoman Isabelle Klarenaar said “it's a nice big sporting celebration that will see a lot of money spent in the city and attract a lot of tourists, but it won't help people who cycle every day very much.”

The event will begin with the introduction of the teams on a Thursday in early July 2017. On the Friday there will be a training session open to the public before the first stage starts on the Saturday.

Exact dates have not yet been made public.

 

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UKRAINE

German football club ends partnership with Russia’s Gazprom

German football club Schalke 04 announced Monday it had prematurely ended its partnership with Russian gas giant Gazprom following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

German football club ends partnership with Russia's Gazprom

The deal between the second-tier German club and Gazprom had been due to run until 2025 with Schalke receiving around €9 million ($10 million) per year in sponsorship.

Had the Gelsenkirchen-based club won promotion back to the Bundesliga at the end of this season, the sponsorship figure would have risen to €15 million annually.

Schalke had already removed the Gazprom logo from their shirts for Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Karlsruhe.

In a statement, Schalke said their finances were “unaffected by this decision”.

“The club’s management is confident that it will be able to present a new partner in the near future.”

READ ALSO: OPINION: Germany has scuppered Nord Stream 2 but there are questions left to answer

Gazprom representative Matthias Warnig resigned from the club’s supervisory board last Thursday.

Hans-Joachim Watzke, interim president of the German Football Association (DFB), had already hinted there could be financial aid for Schalke if they split from Gazprom.

“If this requires the solidarity of other clubs in Germany to get them out of this situation, then we have to discuss how we can manage that,” Watzke told ZDF.

READ ALSO: Germany set to shut airspace to Russian planes on Sunday

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