Dec 22, 2015 – The 2017 Tour de France will start in Dusseldorf, organizers announced on Tuesday. It will be the fourth time Germany hosts the start of the Tour and the 22nd time in total that the ‘Grand Depart’ has taken place outside of France.

AFP/Yuzuru Sunada

It will also be the third time in four years that the world’s most prestigious cycle race begins outside of its homeland following 2014 in Leeds, England and 2015 in Utrecht, Netherlands. Next year the Tour will start from Mont St Michel in Normandy.

The news pleased some of the peloton’s German riders, including John Degenkolb, who wrote on Twitter:

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Sprint king Marcel Kittel, who won four stages on each of the 2013 and 2014 Tours before missing this year’s edition, said Christmas had come early.

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Germany first hosted a Grand Depart in 1965 in Cologne but has not had the honour since West Berlin was chosen in 1987, before the Berlin Wall came down. Reigning champion Chris Froome from Britain had other things occupying his thoughts, though, as he trained in the Alps.

The 30-year-old two-time winner posted a photo of himself stuck behind a herd of sheep with the comment: “The Col de la Madone is a little busy today!”