Tour de France winner to compete in revived Tour of Germany cycle race
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Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas will race against runner-up Tom Dumoulin in stage one of the Deutschland Tour, which is back after a decade-long pause. Organisers, who are also behind the Tour de France, hope the revamped race will boost cycling in Germany.
The 2018 Tour of Germany is four stages, half as many as there were 10 years ago when it was scrapped because of a lack of sponsors as high-profile doping cases tarnished cycling’s image
The new, revamped race covers 737.5 kilometres, going from Koblenz to Bonn, then to Trier and Merzig. The fourth stage starts in Lorsch, concluding in Stuttgart, in the south-west.
The course goes through a variety of terrains, though without high mountain stages like those tackled in the Tour de France.
The first Deutschland Tour was held in 1911 but it disappeared several times over the years. It had previously been resurrected in 1999, with German teams attracting support but the doping scandals cost the sport a lot of credibility and corporate support in Germany.
This latest revival was helped by the success of the start of the 2017 Tour de France in Dusseldorf.
Twenty-two teams are taking part in the new version, including some of the biggest names in the sport.
Thomas and Dumoulin opted to skip the three-week-long Vuelta a Espana, which starts Saturday.But they are not among the favourites to win. Slovenia’s Matej Mohiric is in good shape to do so, after winning the Bink Bank Tour in the Netherlands last week. Another favourite is Maximilian Schachmann, coming off a high-altitude training camp after winning bronze at last month's European Roal Cycling Championships.