Buoyed by the victory of Jan Ullrich in the 1997 Tour de France, German interest in cycling surged to new levels. In 1999, the Deutschlandtour was founded by the company Upsolut and the cycling association Bund Deutscher Radfehrer e.V. to capitalize on that interest. The Deutschlandtour had become part of the UCI ProTour in 2005 and became part of the August event lineup. The winner of the 2008 event was Linus Gerdemann, a German riding for Team Columbia.
The news turned somber in October, 2008 as the event was cancelled indefinitely. The blood doping scandal that was rocking the cycling world had finally had an impact. Cyclists such as Stefan Schumacher and Bernhard Kohl had been caught in the web of deceit and, coupled with similar issues affecting the Tour de France, sponsors and broadcasters (such as ARD) began pulling their support.
However, hope springs eternal for cycling in Germany. A UCI Protour event is scheduled for August 15 and the event is situated near Hamburg. The Vattenfall Cyclassics, while one of the newest events on the tour, has become one of the most popular. The carnival-like setting celebrates the German culture and heritage while the 225k course is a challenging ride.
The all-day event is sponsored by Hamburg's electrical facility, HEW, and has had some notable winners in the past, such as Ullrich and 2007 Italian world champion Ballan. Points accumulated at this event contribute to the UCI world rankings. While the Deutschlandtour may have been suspended indefinitely, events like the Vattenfall Cyclassics demonstrate the strong interest in cycling that the German people possess. Just ask last year's champion, Tyler Farrar.