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No Tour for Germany… of any kind

Bizarre move punishes Tour de France for exposing (German) drugs cheats

 Thursday was a bad day for professional cycling and German cycling fans in particular as organisers pulled the plug on next year's Tour of Germany and the two main broadcasters ARD and ZDF both cancelled plans to broadcast next year's Tour de France. 

The moves were the latest, and possibly the most serious consequence of the recent round of failed drugs tests to hit professional cycling and the Tour de France.  

"The sporting value of the Tour de France has been reduced by the accumulation of failed drugs tests," said ARD chairman Fritz Raff after the decision was made following a meeting in Cologne.

"Therefore, its broadcast value has sunk deeply," he told the AFP news agency.

A spokesman for the UCI, the sport's governing body, said: "It's painful news but we are not completely surprised.

"We remain hopeful that with all the prodigious efforts being made in the anti-doping battle, we will be capable of quickly guaranteeing to Germany the conditions that will be newly-appreciated by sponsors, media and the public."

The Tour of Germany was pulled after organisers met with their financial backers – cycle racing's profile has sunk so low in Germany that they faced a real problem raising the necessary sponsorship needed to make the race happen. It is now cancelled indefinitely. 

Germany (or at least the German media) now seems to be engulfed in a moral panic about professional cycling – yesterday the Tour of Stuttgart was also cancelled and TV stations, newspapers and websites have all been queuing up to say that they will have nothing more to do with the sport until it cleans itself up.

The irony seems to be that this is just what cycling is attempting to do, and what it's now being punished for. it seems only logical to conclude that If the Tour organisers and French doping authorities had been content to let sleeping dogs lie, the Tour of Germany would still be on and German cycling fans would be able to enjoy next year's Tour de France without having to buy a satellite dish.

The most unpalatable fact for many in Germany seems to be not simply that so many drugs cheats have been exposed, but that so many of them were German. This seems to be too painful for many in the German media to deal with rationally.
's founder and first editor, nowadays to be found riding a spreadsheet. Tony's journey in cycling media started in 1997 as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning - finally handing on the reins in 2021 to Jack Sexty. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes, though he'd like to own a carbon bike one day.

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