Dusseldorf targets Tour de France stage

The Mayor of Dusseldorf, Thomas Geisel, has entered into talks to bring a stage of the Tour de France cycling event to the German city.

Geisel’s spokesman, Dieter Schneider-Bichel, told the RP Online website that talks have already been held over the matter, but added a stage of the Grand Tour is unlikely to make it to Germany before 2018.

“He (Geisel) has already spoken with the organisers of the Tour and with Michael Vesper of the German Olympic Sports Association (DOSB) about it,” Schneider-Bichel said.

Geisel is reportedly keen to attract international-level sporting events to Dusseldorf in bid to better market the city. Schneider-Bichel added: “We want a different calibre (of event) with an actual image boost for the city.”

The announcement comes with the Tour enjoying a higher profile in Germany following a troubled relationship with the country in recent years. In January, Tour de France organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) hailed the return of the race to German public-service broadcaster ARD after the signing of a two-year rights deal.

ARD has committed to broadcasting the 2015 and 2016 editions of the Tour, with live coverage being offered of each stage. ARD and fellow public-service broadcaster ZDF stopped showing the race live in 2012 after temporarily halting coverage during the 2007 Tour due to doping scandals in the sport.

The 2015 Tour has seen German rider Tony Martin wear the yellow jersey before crashing out of the race on stage six, while compatriot Andre Greipel (pictured) has already picked up two stage wins.