Jan Ullrich’s gamble to create a bike center tourist attraction – including museum, hotel, gastropub, casino and annual radmarathon event, in the former Tour de France champion’s adopted home in Merdingen, Germany have failed – miserably.
The project was unable to secure the cooperation and financial support of the city according to Major Martin Rupp. “Unfortunately it was not possible to reach an agreement with the municipality.”
According to the submitted proposal, Ullrich’s investors approached the 2500 population city near Freiburg to build a bike center with overnight accommodations, Jan-Ullrich Museum, bike shop and gastropub on a 6000 square meter commercial property.
Unfortunately, the business plan for the 4.5 million euros project strongly relied on also including a 200 square meter gambling casino in heart of the complex to generate additional revenue.
It seems planned ticket sales alone from the Jan-Ullrich Museum would not be enough to support the venture.
But local citizens wanted no part of the Ullrich casino and strongly protested against it. The local government listened, rejecting the entire project and Ullrich’s hopes to open a museum commemorating his professional career.
“Such a large project by private investors must be planned in such a way that it can get by without financial support from the community,” explained Mayor Rupp. “Otherwise the community would have suffered massive financial damage. The promotion of private tourism projects is not a task of general interest.”
According to the mayor, Ulrich and the investors showed little understanding for the community and criticized, among other things, difficult communications and dealings with Ullrich, who now lives in the city.
Ullrich vows to find another more accommodating city willing to accept his business plan, but first the 48-year-old is battling yet another round of substance abuse therapy after being admitted to a Swiss clinic in early December.
Worldwide Gran Fondo and Gravel Event Calendar