Oct. 16, 2008

German public TV to suspend live coverage of the Tour de France

The 2 German public broadcasting stations ARD & ZDF announced today that they'd suspend live coverage of the Tour de France "until further notice", following the newest doping scandal involving B. Kohl, who was supposed to be part of the "new generation" of clean cyclists. Both station will continue to cover the Tour in their sport reports and the regular news, but that will only be a fraction of their usual coverage of approx. 90 hours. Private TV channel "Eurosport" is expected to continue TV coverage of the Tour in 59 countries, including Germany.

There are reports that the Tour of Germany will be cancelled next year following the latest happenings. The "Hofbräu 6 days" of Stuttgart are already scrapped.

The perception of professional cycling is at an all-time low. Everyone was hoping for a new generation of cyclists, who'd be smart and clean (even if that would mean that there weren't any new records), but it seems like some people just never learn.

Will banning the Tour de France coverage have an impact on the fight against doping? Patrice Clerc, Chairman of the Tour de France organizers replied to a similar issue last July: "it seems paradoxical to punish the Tour, which leads in the fight against cheating."

France has took the lead in the fight against doping- cyclists who will ride the Tour in 2009 know that their blood tests will probably be tested again and again whenever new tests for banned substances are approved.

For me, it would make much more sense to appreciate their efforts in the fight against doping and force other races, like the Giro in Italy to follow the same strict rules. The Tour de France organizers are on the right track- now others need to follow their lead, including other sports, like soccer, football, baseball, track & field, swimming, etc. It's about time for cheaters to be caught, in order to let the real and worthy "heroes" step into the well-deserved spotlight!

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