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Dietrich Thurau

Dietrich Thurau
Personal information
Full nameDietrich Thurau
Born (1954-11-09) 9 November 1954 (age 69)
Frankfurt, West Germany
Team information
DisciplineRoad and Track
Professional teams
1980Puch - Sem
1983Del Tongo - Colnago
1985Hitachi - Splendor
1986Supermercati Brianzoli
1987Roland - Skala
1987–1988Panasonic - Isostar
Major wins
6 stages Tour de France
Medal record
Men's road bicycle racing
Representing  West Germany
World Championships
Silver medal – second place 1977 San Christóbal Elite Road Race
Silver medal – second place 1979 Valkenburg Elite Road Race

Dietrich "Didi" Thurau (German pronunciation: [ˈdiːtʁɪç ˈtuːʁaʊ] ; born 9 November 1954) is a retired German professional road bicycle racer. His biggest career achievements include winning the one-day classic, Liège–Bastogne–Liège, his home country's Deutschland Tour and surprising the field at the 1977 Tour de France by capturing four stages and holding the yellow jersey as leader of the general classification from the prologue for 15 days. Thurau did win the young rider classification although he lost the overall lead to eventual winner Bernard Thévenet.

Thurau was German pursuit champion three times and won 29 six-day races. He is the father of former professional cyclist Björn Thurau. In 1989, he revealed he had doped throughout his career.


He won the German National Road Race in 1975 and 1976.[1] After his victory in the points classification in the Vuelta a España and a fourth place in the general classification in the Vuelta a España in 1976, Thurau was seen as a talented rider, but not seen as a rider for the general classification. This changed when he won the prologue 1977 Tour de France, won time trials and mountain stages, keeping the lead until far in the race, finishing fifth in the overall classification and won the young rider classification.[citation needed]

Thurau signed a contract to ride the 1978 season as a team leader at IJsboerke. Before his contract started, but after he signed it, he rode the 1977 UCI Road World Championships. Seven kilometers before the finish, he was away together with Francesco Moser, and Moser punctured. To the surprise of commentators, including the coach of the French team Jacques Anquetil and Thurau's team leader Peter Post, Thurau waited for Moser, and was beaten in the sprint by Moser. This caused rumours that Thurau had sold the championship to Moser; it later became clear that Thurau's new bosses at IJsboerke did not want Thurau to ride in the rainbow jersey, but wanted him to keep his sponsored jersey.[2]

Thurau's primary goals for the next season became the 1978 Giro d'Italia and the 1978 UCI Road World Championships, and his team skipped the 1978 Tour de France, because they felt there were too many mountain finishes for a rider like Thurau. Although Thurau won two stages in the 1978 Giro, it did not go as expected, as he had to abandon the race in the tenth stage, when he had already given up all hopes for the general classification.[citation needed]

In 1979, Thurau won Liège–Bastogne–Liège, and again came second in the 1979 UCI Road World Championships, but he was no longer seen as able to win a grand tour, and he changed teams. He continued as a professional cyclist for several years, but did not win any major races.[citation needed]


Thurau tested positive for stimulants after Stage 8 of the 1987 Tour de France. He was fined 5,000 FF (£500), incurred a 10-minute time penalty, placed last on the stage and was given a one-month suspended ban.[3] However, by the time the positive result was revealed, Thurau had already abandoned the Tour.

After he had retired, in 1989, he gave an interview to the Bild newspaper, in Germany, where he revealed he had doped throughout his career, including the use of Amphetamines, Testosterone and Cortisone.[4]

Personal life

In 1998, Thurau was fined 20,000 DM for forgery.[5] In 2012, it was reported that he had embezzled 49,000 EUR in insurance benefits, which were meant for his father, Helmut, to pay for his nursing home. Instead, Thurau kept the money. He was convicted of the offence and was fined 39,900 EUR.[5]

His son Björn Thurau is also a racing cyclist, banned for doping, whilst Björn's younger brother Urs is a tennis player who is coached by Dietrich.[6]

Major results

1st Tour de Picardie
1st Grand Prix de Fourmies
1st Road race, National Road Championships
4th Overall Vuelta a España
1st Points classification
1st Prologue, Stages 9, 16, 18 & 19b (ITT)
1st E3 Prijs Vlaanderen
5th Overall Tour de France
1st Young rider classification
1st Prologue, Stages 2, 5b, 16 & 22a
1st Overall Étoile de Bessèges
1st Züri–Metzgete
Giro d'Italia
1st Prologue & Stage 4
3rd Overall Tour of Belgium
1st Scheldeprijs
1st Overall Deutschland Tour
1st Prologue
1st Liège–Bastogne–Liège
1st Stage 19 Tour de France
1st Six Days of Munich (with Patrick Sercu)
5th Overall Giro d'Italia
1st Six Days of Bremen (with Albert Fritz)
1st Six Days of Bremen (with Josef Kristen)
1st Six Days of Munich (with Danny Clark)
1st Six Days of Bremen (with Danny Clark)
1st Six Days of Munich (with Urs Freuler)

See also


  1. ^ "National Championship, Road, Elite, Germany". Cycling Archives. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  2. ^ de Vries, Guide (1 October 1998). "Spel van list en bedrog" (in Dutch). NRC. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  3. ^ Connor, Jeff (1988). "Wide Eyed & Legless - Inside the Tour de France". Jeff Connor. ISBN 0-671-69937-7.
  4. ^ "Thurau s'est dopé". Le Soir. AFP. 9 February 1989. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
  5. ^ a b Kolja Gärtner (27 January 2012). "Rad-Star Didi Thurau zockte eigenen Vater ab". Bild. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
  6. ^ McGrath, Andy (15 August 2013). "Björn With It". Rouleur. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
Awards Preceded by Gregor Braun German Sportsman of the Year 1977 Succeeded by Eberhard Gienger
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Dietrich Thurau
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