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by Shane Stokes
January 14, 2016
Photography by Cor Vos
Former multiple world time trial champion Tony Martin will be psyched by the thoughts of grabbing the first Tour de France yellow jersey in next year’s race, with the opening stage giving him the ideal opportunity to do so.
The German will be racing on home soil in the Grand Départ. Race organiser ASO revealed on Thursday that stage one will be a time trial on the streets of Düsseldorf.
As Martin is one of the strongest time trialists in the peloton, the stage will enable him to repeat his achievement from the 2015 Tour, when he was first across the line on stage four and began a stint in yellow.
He unfortunately crashed at the end of stage six and was unable to start the following morning, but will be motivated by the chance to don the Maillot Jaune again.
“Based on the stage profile, Tony Martin has the best shot at wearing the legendary yellow jersey in his home country at the end of the opening day,” stated ASO in a statement revealing details.
“The first stage, scheduled for July 1, 2017, will be a 13 km individual time trial through the streets of Düsseldorf.”
The stage will begin opposite the Messe fair grounds and will track along the banks of the Rhine prior to heading for the city’s most famous street, Königsallee, and on to the finish line near the start.
“The pancake-flat course will whet the appetite of power riders, notably the 2013 individual time trial world champion,” it added.
A victory by Martin would be huge for German cycling, which backed off on its coverage of the Tour for several years due to doping scandals but which has now returned to screening it as before.
The 2017 Grand Départ was originally due to be held in London.
However in September the city’s major Boris Johnson unexpectedly abandoned the bid. In December ASO confirmed that Düsseldorf had been approved to take over the hosting of the race.
The Grand Départ will come 30 years after the race began in West Berlin.