Blog Hintergrund

Tour de Berlin

Things are looking up for cycling

The Tour of Germany, the most important German stage race in road racing, started yesterday. A total of 120 professional cyclists with 20 teams are fighting for stage and overall victory from St. Wedel to Bremen. Tomorrow, the Tour de Berlin - International Youngsters Race will also enter its second round. Here, a total of almost 250 young athletes will compete against each other.

 

Jens Voigt on the status of German cycling

Jens Voigt, who won the Tour of Germany in 2006 and 2007, said in the rbb24 interview: "The Deutschland Tour is undoubtedly the flagship of German cycling. It is the big and unfortunately also the only stage where all German local teams that are invited are allowed to show themselves". When asked about the current state of affairs of cycling in Germany, he replied, "At the moment, things are looking good for German cycling. We have very, very solid riders." According to Voigt, there is a lack of professionals who regularly take stage wins even on the big stage of the Tour de France. "But we have a lot of very good riders, and there is also a lot coming up in the juniors and in the U23. We don't have to worry about the future of German cycling."

Yet only 7 German riders competed in the Tour de France this year; the last time there were so few was 20 years ago. And between 2006 and 2021, the number of racing licences in the U19 category fell from 1,054 to 369. [sportschau.de]

 

Claudiu Ciurea looks positively to the future

In Berlin, meanwhile, the mood is positive. A few years ago, the situation was "more than dramatic", according to Claudiu Ciurea, president of the Berlin Cycling Federation in the rbb24 interview. "There were questions about whether or not the federation could still exist. But we managed to put a team behind the federation and bring cycling back to the forefront. We are growing in all areas and disciplines. Our squad athlete numbers are growing all the time and, especially in the young talent, we have more and more athletes moving towards competitive sport."

Above all, the dedicated volunteers who have "worked insanely hard" are responsible for the upward trend of cycling in Berlin. However, this commitment "cannot be expected to continue indefinitely". "We have built up structures that will have to be supported by full-time staff in the future." According to Ciurea, "the non-optimal support on the part of politics and the state sports federation" is negative: "We do have the impression that cycling and cycling have a high status in our society - and are also very important for politics. But too little is happening to advance cycling even further."

 

Detlef Uibel also comes to a similar conclusion

"Volunteerism has declined sharply. That's a huge problem," says Detlef Uibel, who is a Federal base manager for cycling in Brandenburg im rbb24 interview. The nationwide trend is not only noticeable in cycling, but also here in Brandenburg. That's why it's important that we try to revive the sport with full-time coaching positions and tackle it structurally by sifting through young talent." "We are currently reviving white spots in Brandenburg, for example in the north and west, where cycling has completely fallen asleep in recent years - especially due to Corona - especially in children's and youth sports." The main positive aspect is "that we have more competitions again and that even the smaller clubs are making an effort to organise events in their regions.

 

The Tour de Berlin - International Youngsters Race could be just the beginning

From Friday, 25 August, to Sunday, 27 August, the three-day stage race Tour de Berlin - International Youngsters Race will take place. With the Tempelhofer Feld and the race around the Olympiastadion, two special Berlin locations will be included again this year. With almost 250 starters in 60 teams in the U13 and U15 age groups, 300 percent more young athletes will be starting this year than last year. "Internationally, too, Berlin is once again being noticed as a location. Almost 25 per cent of the starters come from abroad. These international encounters are also very valuable for children," says Claudiu Ciurea in the rbb24 interview. "Such events serve to present the sport to parents and children. The children should get the chance to have a look and get a feel for the sport. Maybe we can inspire one or two of them to join a club in this way."

Jens Voigt in the rbb24-Interview: "It's important that the little ones also get a big stage once in a while and not just ride in some industrial estate to the exclusion of the public." In conclusion, he says: "Life swings up and down. Remember how big tennis was with Becker and Graf? In cycling there are enough riders. But it always depends on a club, a single person, who pulls everything along. It takes one or two people with heart and soul - and then there could be a wrestling stronghold, a boxing stronghold or a cycling stronghold in any place in Germany."

Here you can listen to the radio report by rbb24 Inforadio (only available in German language)

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