Tour de France live on German TV?

German TV broadcasters ARD and ZDF seem to be backtracking on their plan not to do any live coverage of the 2009 Tour de France. Under consideration at the moment are plans for an hour daily live coverage.

The broadcasters originally pulled the plug on the Tour in 2007, after announcement of Patrik Sinkewitz's positive doping control for testosterone. They returned for coverage in 2008, but after the positive controls for Stefan Schumacher and Bernhard Kohl from the Tour, the ARD said that it would not cover the 2009 Tour live.

"The decision in October was our step back from the broad-based live reporting," ARD spokesman Petery Meyer told the sid press agency. "Of course there will be coverage, even if the art and extent are still open."

Both ARD and ZDF belong to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which has a contract with the Tour de France organizer ASO. The EBU and the ASO have a contract to show the race through 2011. The ARD apparently is unclear whether it is covered by this contract, while the ZDF has indicated its willingness to cover the Tour live, but only in cooperation with the ARD.

German fans have not been left staring at a dark television, though, and have been able to watch the race on the commercial Eurosport channel.

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