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Düsseldorf tipped to replace London in 2017 Tour de France Grand Depart

Meanwhile, Christian Prudhomme insists ASO not angry with London over late u-turn over staging race

Düsseldorf in Germany is being tipped to host the Grand Depart of the 2017 Tour de France instead of London, which had been awarded the event only for Mayor Boris Johnson to order that the bid be withdrawn the day before contracts were due to be signed with race owners, ASO.

The city is the capital of the North Rhine-Westphalia region and home to electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk – the group behind the seminal 1983 single, Tour de France – as well as the setting for the first season of the 1980s ITV series Auf Weidersehen Pet.

- Kraftwerk break enigmatic silence to talk about cycling

Dieter Schneider-Bichel, spokeman for mayor Thomas Geisel, who met with ASO in July, told the broadcaster WRD that he would be in a position to say more in around three weeks’ time, adding that the race beginning in the city tied in with its “political and strategic considerations.”

He also noted that in recent years, cycling in Germany has managed to distance itself from the taint of doping that had caused sponsors and broadcasters to pull out of the sport.

The momentum behind rival German bids from Münster and Saarland has cooled according to WRD, making Düsseldorf the favourite to play host to the start of what will be the 104th edition of the race.

Meanwhile Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme insists that race organisers ASO are not angry with TfL’s decision to withdraw its bid, as had been reported on Monday.

- Boris Johnson says he pulled London's 2017 Tour de France Grand Depart

Quoted on the Eurosport website, he said: "Contrary to what has been reported, we are not angry at all.

"We are still grateful for the Grand Depart in 2007 [the last time the race began in the British capital] and London pulling out does not change the fact that cycling is now big in Britain."

As for speculation over when details of the 2017 Grand Depart would be revealed, he said it would be "during the winter, just like we do every year.”

He added: "We were not just about to announce it as I read here and there."

Typically, ASO confirms the host city of the Grand Depart in November or December each year, more than a year and a half before the relevant edition of the race is due to begin.

The full route of next year’s race, which starts at Mont-St Michel in Normandy, will be unveiled in Paris on 20 October.

- Tour de France 2016 to start in Normandy's Manche department

The Grand Depart has previously taken place in Germany on three occasions – in Cologne in 1965, Frankfurt am Main in 1980, and seven years later in West Berlin.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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