Recent doping cases, including the one of 2008 Tour de France mountains jersey winner Bernhard Kohl, have made the Deutschland Tour lose one of its sponsors for next year. The owners of "Zillertal.at Tirol" have decided to pull out of their engagement in cycling. "At the moment I can exclude an advertising cooperation of the previous scope," said marketing chief Josef Margreiter to German sports news agency sid.
The Austrian region of Tyrol has been visited by the Deutschland Tour in every edition during the last five years, with the famous Rettenbachferner climb a mountaintop finish twice. But the recent doping revelations have made cycling a less attractive marketing tool in German-speaking countries such as Austria. "We cannot continue as if nothing happened. It doesn't look good at the moment," added Margreiter.
The Tour of Germany 2009 might therefore not pass through Tyrol again, and must fear for its existence anyhow. German television broadcaster ARD is debating today of continuing - or discontinuing - their live reports of the biggest events in cycling, including the Tour de France and the Deutschland Tour. If it is decided that live transmissions are no longer an option, the national tour is seriously endangered.