PARIS — The 1987 Tour de France cycle race is to begin in West Berlin and have the prolog and three stages in West Germany before the race reaches France.
Tour official Felix Levitan said organizers reached agreement after a year of negotiations with West Berlin mayor Eberhard Diepgen to begin the Tout outside France for the first time since 1982. The start is to be part of West Berlin's 750th anniversary celebratation in 1987.
News reports said the city would sign a contract sometime in the next 12 months. They said the city would pay about $1 million for the right to be the host for the beginning of the three-week stage race.
Levitan said West Berlin would encourage "understanding between peoples" and may help persuade national teams from East Bloc countries to participate in the Tour.
East Bloc amateur teams have balked at invitations in recent years to enter teams in the professional road race, the most prestigious event of the cycling season. Colombia had the only national amateur team entered in this year's Tour in July.
The reports said 200 to 300 kilometers may be added to the Tour's usual $,000-kilometer route to accommodate West Berlin. The prolog, two road stages and a team time trial would be run in West Germany before the race enters France.
West Berlin would become the eighth foreign city to host the start since Amsterdam held the prolog in 1954. Brussels held the start in 1958, Cologne, West Germany in 1965, Scheveningen, Holland in 1973, Leiden, Holland in 1978, Frankfurt, West Germany in 1980 and Basel, Switzerland in 1982.
The 1986 Tour is to begin from the Paris suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt.