Dusseldorf withdraw bid to host 2010 Tour start

Doping scandals take their toll

After numerous doping scandals surrounding the Tour de France in recent years, the German city of Duesseldorf has withdrawn its bid to host the start of the 2010 race, it was announced today.

Duesseldorf mayor Dirk Elbers formally withdrew their candidacy after a meeting in the west German city on Wednesday night and revealed it would have cost six million euros (8.5 million US dollars) to host the start.

"We had promised ourselves a raised positive profile all over the world through the Tour's coverage, but that is not assured now," Elbers told German sports agency SID.

Whether the 2010 Tour is screened here also remains to be seen after broadcasters ARD stopped broadcasting last year's Tour mid-race after German rider Patrick Sinkewitz failed a drugs test.

ARD have yet to decide whether to screen the 2009 race and are unhappy about the possible involvement of cycling legend Lance Armstrong who has been accused of doping in the past.

Duesseldorf would have been only the fourth German city to host the start of the Tour in the event's 105-year history.

Cologne (1965), Frankfurt (1980) and Berlin (1987) have all hosted the start.

© AFP 2008

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