Münster Planning To Host Grand Depart Of Tour De France; Kazakhstan Also Interested
Münster, Germany "is reportedly interested in hosting the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in '17," according to VELOMOTION. The tour has "started three times in Germany in its more than 100-year history." In '65, the tour started in Cologne, 15 years later in Frankfurt and finally in Berlin in '87. The "last time the tour made a stop on German soil was in '02 in Saarbrücken." This year, the tour started in Yorkshire, England. Talking about the excitement of the English fans, Münster Mayor Markus Lewe said, "The tour start will boost the region. The feeling of togetherness was enourmous." The Münster region "was able to gain experience hosting cycling events through the organization of the Münsterland Giro over the past several years." Lewe "already held talks with Tour Dir Christian Prudhomme on the issue" (VELOMOTION, 7/27).
OUT EAST: The AAP reported Kazakh Cycling President Kairat Kelimbetov said that "his country wants to host the start of the race like England did this year." Kelimbetov, who is also head of Kazakhstan's central bank, said that "the idea may seem 'a joke' now," but his oil-rich country "is serious and is negotiating for a chance before 2020." He said, "The Tour de France has become global and cycling has become global and everyone was absolutely excited when five million people came onto the streets. The idea is to one day bring it to Kazakhstan." It is some 4,800km (3,000 miles) from Astana, capital of the world's biggest landlocked country, to Paris. But Kelimbetov said that "the western tip of Kazakhstan is part of Europe 'so why not?'" (AAP, 7/28).