DUESSELDORF, Germany — The Tour de France calls its start the “Grand Depart.” This year it feels more like the “Grand Return.”

Six years after German TV stopped broadcasting cycling’s showpiece event because of a series of doping scandals and three decades after it last rolled off in the country, the Tour opens this weekend with two stages in Duesseldorf.

The race starts Saturday with a mostly flat 8.7-mile individual time trial that seems perfect for the four-time world champion, Tony Martin, to grab the yellow jersey in front of his home fans.

Stage 2 on Sunday goes from Duesseldorf to Liege, Belgium.

The last time the three-week race started from Germany was in 1987, when the Grand Depart took place in West Berlin, when the city was still divided.

A decade later, German cycling reached its high point when Jan Ullrich became the first and still only German to win the Tour.

Ullrich also finished runner-up five times, three times behind Lance Armstrong, who was eventually stripped of his seven titles for doping.

Ullrich also fell into disgrace and was suspended in 2006 in the fallout from a blood-doping scandal in Spain. He retired a year later, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport then banned him for two years in 2012 for involvement in a doping program.

Ullrich didn’t contest the ruling and remains unwelcome in cycling.

He wasn’t invited to Duesseldorf by Tour organizers.

While Ullrich’s victory set off a golden age of German cycling, the sport quickly disintegrated in the country following doping scandals involving prominent riders like Patrick Sinkewitz and Stefan Schumacher. Even Erik Zabel, a popular rider, admitted to doping after he retired.

These days a new generation of German riders has drawn local fans back to cycling.

The German TV station ARD began broadcasting the Tour again in 2015 and the Tour of Germany is scheduled to return next year after it was canceled in 2009.