Germany's national television broadcasters have decided to abandon live coverage of the Tour de France after 2012, and they are wrong to do so, writes Michael Tomalaris.
7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

So Germany's national television broadcasters have decided to abandon live coverage of the Tour de France after 2012.

The official reason for pulling the plug is a huge drop in viewing numbers. While that may be the case, if you ask me, it's a cop out!

The conservatively-minded German producers have never come to grips with a sport that sometimes makes headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Oh sure it was OK to spend big money on TV production costs when German riders were dominating French roads - but that was different, wasn't it?

Remember when Jan Ullrich and Erik Zabel were headline acts? Remember the glory days when T-Mobile, Gerolsteiner and Milram dominated the podiums? (before many of their riders were subsequently exposed as dopers.)

The fact of the matter is German cycling has been on a downward trend for several years and while doping scandals have generally rocked the sport, the TV executives haven't bothered to look outside the square nor scratch the surface and look beyond what cycling and Le Tour has to offer.

It's a shame that names such as Stefan Schumacher, Patrik Sinkewitz and Jorg Jaschke have kept tongues wagging, while a new generation of riders like Andre Greipel, Tony Martin and Christian Knees continue to light up races for the right reasons.

And now with this decision the latter three will receive little recognition for their sporting prowess at home from local broadcasters and media - something that may hurt the future development of the sport in a country that historically has much to offer.

Australia has never had its own WorldTour team to cheer on, yet viewing figures from this part of the world have gone from strength to strength - especially in the last five years.

As a result we may be on the cusp of joining the ProTeam ranks with the GreenEDGE bid.

And it's the same in Canada, with sports network TSN recently acquiring the rights and announcing plans to broadcast every stage of this year's Tour de France live in HD for the first time.

Perfect timing for cycling fans in the Great White North now that they have their very own Pro Contintental team in the Steve Bauer led SpiderTech squad to cheer on. Look for Canadian pro cycling to grow as a result.

It's further proof the German are biting off their nose to spite their face. It's a lame excuse when German TV blames "doping in cycling" as the reason to switch off.

Did they switch off when East German track and field stars were pinged for systematic doping from the Olympic Games of the 1980s?

Did they take their cameras when China's Olympic swimmers were similarly brandished 20 years later.

The answer to both questions is no. The Germans appear to have a real bee in their bonnet about the Tour.

Viewers from most global nations appreciate the Tour de France as a festival - one which encapsulates both sport and culture.

So it's disappointing German television chooses to overlook an event and not recognise a sport merely because some of its own athletes have become victims of their own failure.