ARD to resume cycling coverage
German broadcasters ARD announced on Wednesday they will go ahead with plans to broadcast the Tour of Germany, on August 10-18, after being convinced of the event’s tough anti-doping policy.
After this year’s Tour de France had its reputation tarnished when several riders failed drugs tests, German stations ARD and ZDF scrapped their coverage halfway through the race.
“We can’t screen an event involving some teams and riders under suspicion of doping,” explained a spokesman at the time. “We want to show by this gesture that we’re ready to support cycling only if it’s clean, that’s to say without banned doping substances.”
But after the German Tour’s organisers gave firm assurances of strict drugs tests, ARD have decided to broadcast the race having heard winners will receive their prize-money only after being tested and riders will be chaperoned to drugs tests.
An ARD report during this year’s Tour de France showed riders selected for anti-doping tests could slip away on their team’s bus before going to be tested.
“The measures the organisers have taken are, in our opinion, stricter than those during the Tour de France and we are happy with what we have been told,” said ARD president Fritz Raff. “These measurements are essential so that cycling can fight back in it’s war against doping.”
© AFP 2007