German broadcasters are once again threatening to drop coverage of the Tour de France, with the news of Alberto Contador's positive test for Clenbuterol only the latest in a series of year-long doping scandals.
The country's two public broadcasters ARD and ZDF share Tour coverage, and are currently holding talks as to whether they will continue with live coverage.
“We are having discussions with ARD now. But there is basically no decision,” said ZDF spokesman Walter Kehr.
After Patrik Sinkewitz's positive doping control for testosterone was announced during the 2007 Tour, the Germans stopped broadcasts for the rest of the race. They returned in 2008, but then were struck by the doping positives that year for Stefan Schumacher and Bernhard Kohl of the German team Gerolsteiner. They provided only 30 minutes of live daily coverage in 2009, and increased it to 60 minutes daily this year.
The broadcasters are required to show the race by a contract with the European Broadcasting Union and the race organizers Amaury Sports Organization. The contract, which runs through 2011, requires them to provide daily coverage of the race.