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ARD, ZDF halt cycle race coverage

New doping case hits Tour de France

BERLIN — German pubcasters ARD and ZDF on Wednesday made good on their vow to immediately pull the plug on their joint coverage of the Tour de France if any serious doping cases surfaced this year.

The pubcasters, who rotate coverage of the world’s premier cycling race, announced they would be temporarily suspending their four-hour daily coverage of the race that is also broadcast to 185 countries around the world after a positive doping test for German cyclist Patrik Sinkewitz. He was found to have extremely high levels of testosterone. Sinkewitz, a member of Germany’s T-Mobile team, was badly injured in a crash on Sunday and withdrew from the race. He denied any wrongdoing.

“We have decided to stop covering the tour until the case has been cleared up,” ZDF editor-in-chief Nikolaus Brender said in an interview with the web’s midday news program.

“The boycott will be kept in force until the matter has been resolved,” said an ARD spokesman.

ARD returned to regular afternoon programming on Wednesday rather than cover the tour. German cycling fans, however, could still watch the race on Eurosport.

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