A German TV station pulled the plug on the Tour de France broadcasts. The public station will not carry live coverage of the Tour in 2009. (ARD.com) Looks like Lance Armstrong may ride in the papers only in 2009.
ARD executives meeting in Cologne Thursday said the chronic doping scandals that have plagued the Tour made it impossible to justify major coverage.
The Tour de France was once a major ratings winner in Germany but doping charges -- in particular against German rider Jan Ulrich -- have tainted the event in the minds of many fans. This year’s event was a ratings flop.
Public channel ZDF, which usually shares the Tour rights with ARD, is expected to air the 2009 event but it is unclear if it will continue to provide live daily coverage as it has in the past.
Interesting development. With all the doping (steroids and HGH) scandals in the US, not a single audible protest was ever heard from a commercial TV station. Ratings talk louder than ethics. (To Reuters)
"The sporting value of the Tour de France has dropped considerably due to the many doping cases," ARD chairman Fritz Raff said in a statement. "The value of the broadcast has similarly decreased."The decision came a day after Austrian Bernhard Kohl, who finished as best climber and was third overall at this year's Tour, admitted using CERA, the new generation of the blood-boosting EPO.Germany's Stefan Schumacher, who liked Kohl rode for the Gerolsteiner team, was one of a number of other riders to test positive during the Tour.ARD and fellow public network ZDF pulled the plug on their Tour de France broadcasts in 2007 when it was revealed German rider Patrik Sinkewitz tested positive.