Düsseldorf will host the prologue to the 2017 Tour de France ©DuesseldorfTourismus

Düsseldorf will host the Grand Depart of the 2017 Tour de France in what will mark the race's first start on German soil for 30 years, it has been announced.

It will mark the fourth time Germany or West Germany has hosted the Tour start, but the first time since the 1987 edition began in West Berlin. 

Düsseldorf , the seventh most populous in Germany, was announced in a short statement by organisers today ahead of full details being released on January 14.

The City Council narrowly approved pressing ahead with hosting the event by 40 votes to 39 in what has been hailed as evidence of a resurged interest in cycling in Germany since the sport suffered a lapse in popularity due to doping problems.

Düsseldorf has stepped in to replace London, which had been days away from being confirmed as host in September before withdrawing for financial reasons.

Tour de France organisers announcing the German host city ©Twitter
Tour de France organisers announcing the German host city ©Twitter

It will follow a 2016 edition, due to start in French town Mont Saint-Michel on July 2.

Düsseldorf  will mark the 22nd time the Tour de France has started outside France, with Utrecht in The Netherlands hosting the Grand Depart of this year's race, and the Yorkshire city of Leeds in Britain doing so in 2014.

The exact nature of the course has not been revealed, but the time trial format should favour German star Tony Martin, the Etixx-Quick Step rider, who won the 2011, 2012 and 2013 world titles and the Olympic silver medal at London 2012.

The announcement comes as a row continues between the International Cycling Union and Tour owners Amaury Sports Organisation, who announced last week they will not register their events on the World Tour calendar for 2017.