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Let’s make Hennef Great Again

Tour De Hennef

The 114th annual Tour de France (TdF) begins on July 1st. It starts this year in Düsseldorf. Yep, in Germany. Hard to understand why, but I assume it was a lot of political wheeling and dealing. My only criticism is that it starts in town known as the evil twin to Cologne.

Despite the fact that cycling is arguably the dullest sport on earth next to Formula 1, it would be a great marketing tool to put Hennef on the map.

This got me to thinking, if TdF can start in Düsseldorf, why not start next year in Hennef? I mean, two years ago Hennef did host a very rainy German BBQ Championship, right?

And, Hennef is only ever so slightly farther away than to Liege, the end of the 2nd round. Düsseldorf to Liege is 203.5 km and Hennef to Liege is, depending on the route, between 166 km and 218 km depending on which way you go by bike. So the factor of distance is actually in our favor.

Imagine what it would mean for the city! Let’s take a look at some key facts and figures on the world’s largest sporting event and what it would mean to Hennef:

  • The Tour de France is the world’s largest annual sporting event – 3.5 billion people watch the tour every year. I can’t believe it either, I thought it was only my father-in-law who watched that stuff
  • It starts at the end of June/beginning of July and lasts 3 weeks
  • The entire race covers approximately 3,500 km
  • The Grand Départ is the opening of the race of the Tour de France and is regularly held outside of France – “Grand Depart: Hennef” I can see it already in lights
  • Over 188 countries around the world broadcast TdF
  • There are 4,700 hours of TV coverage annually (thanks Eurosport)
  • The last hour of every stage is broadcast live across western Europe
  • 2,000 journalists representing dozens of nationalities attend the Tour every year
  • 1,200 hotel rooms are reserved each night for the teams, staff, press and tour personnel, which could be an issue – are there enough beds in the Landsknecht?
  • The Tour de France attracts 12 million spectators along the route in a typical year’s race
  • On average spectators travel 130km to see a stage of Le Tour – so even the die-hard fans from Düsseldorf can attend
  • 30% of those spectators are women – I’m guessing they are forced
  • It’s costing Düsseldorf around about 11m Euros, but is estimated to bring in 56m Euros

So with all this information at hand, why not just apply. What’s the worst that could happen?

Shannon’s View

As a US-American living now in Hennef since 2012, I’ve come to learn that this city like any other has many facets – positive and not so positive. I arrived in Germany in 1994 and have seen more of the country and most Germans. Stuttgart, Ulm, Berlin, Munich, Dresden, Hannover and Cologne are just some of the cities I have had the luxury and pain to live in. Overall, I am so happy to live and be successful here, something that in the United States may not be possible. Nonetheless, Hennef is the little “nest” we’ve built up and where I now call my home. In the following days and weeks, I would like to share just a few things that have raised my brow or tickled me pink.

Foto: jeanma85 | Fotolia.com

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