Bonn Retail association recognises the Deutschland Tour as an important event for Bonn, but criticizes the road closures.
The Deutschland Tour, a national 4-day cycling tour, is taking place again for the first time in ten years and the first stage on Thursday 23 August will be finishing in Bonn. 22 renowned teams with a total of 132 cyclists are participating. Mayor Ashok Sridharan and the parliamentary groups agreed that this is a top-class event when last year's city council approved the hosting of the Deutschland Tour in Bonn. But now Bonn traders have poured cold water on the event: They accuse the city council of not having given them enough information about the route and the associated closures.
"Don’t get us wrong, we are looking forward to the Deutschland Tour. It is an important event for the city of Bonn," explained Jannis Vassiliou. However, the chairman of the Bonn retail association believes that the council should have involved city centre and Beuel retailers (where the racers first cycle across Bonn soil) at an early stage in the planning. "We learned more or less by chance that, for example, the Marktgarage car park will not be opening on Thursday."
According to Maren Hopf from the event organiser GFR (Gesellschaft zur Förderung des Radsports, Society for the Promotion of Cycling), the Stockenstraße will be closed from Adenauerallee onwards on Wednesday and Thursday to allow for construction of the event stages, for the supply and exhibition tents and the technical equipment. Because the entrance to the Marktgarage will still be accessible from Franziskanerstraße on Wednesday, City-Parkraum GmbH only wants to close the garage on Thursday, says Managing Director Rainer Schneider. The car park exit is not affected by the closure. On Thursday, the car park will probably be hired out by the GFR for about 200 support vehicles for the tour, Schneider continued.
But Vassiliou also criticises other - mainly temporary - road closures in Bonn's city centre. "For us this means that on Thursday and possibly also on Friday many customers won't even venture into the city centre." On Friday, the second stage starts at Poppelsdorfer Schloss and runs via Ippendorf and Röttgen towards Trier. Therefore, there will also be some road closures in this area.
Werner Koch, chairman of the Beuel trade association, also makes no secret of his displeasure at the lack of information provided so far to traders and residents. Since the tour also leads through the middle of Beuel, some of the traders may have set something up there and participated in the event in some way, he said. "But so far we don't know exactly when and where the tour will go," complained Koch.
In response to GA enquiries, the city council regrets that business representatives had not been involved earlier in the preparations for the Deutschland Tour. On the same day, however, the council published more detailed information on its website including the closure periods along the route in the city. Stefanie Zießnitz from the press office also pointed out that the organiser would write to the traders and residents before the end of the day. The council also asks for understanding that there will be unavoidable short-term disruptions. However, the closures in preparation for the event do not mean a complete closure. "Vehicles can be diverted by the coordinators working on site or, in an emergency, can still pass through", said Zießnitz. However, this does not comfort Koch: "For us, it is just too late. Time is now far too tight to be able to prepare anything."
Drivers in the region must also be prepared for temporary closures on 23 August on the route from Koblenz via Windhagen, Rottbitze, Aegidienberg to Beuel. The same applies to the second stage, which will lead from Bonn via Meckenheim, Altenahr through the Eifel to Trier on Friday 24 August. Before the cyclists – who GFR spokeswoman Maren Hopf did not want to name yet – arrive in the Adenauerallee near the Königshof in the afternoon of 23 August, the organisers are putting on an entertaining support programme for the public. Cyclists will find everything their hearts desire at a bike fair in the Hofgarten from 10 am to 5 pm, and for children there is a mini race. Media from all over Germany will also be waiting at the finish line and will be reporting the event live.
You can find detailed information about the Deutschland Tour including all the routes and time plans here (scroll to the bottom of the page to change into English):www.deutschland-tour.com Original text: Lisa Inhoffen, Translation: Caroline Payne