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ARD brings back Tour de France

German public broadcaster and ABU member ARD has confirmed that it will recommence live coverage of the Tour de France this year following a 3-year break.

Following several doping incidents, ARD and fellow public broadcaster ZDF dropped their live coverage of the Tour de France in 2012.

ARD has now decided to recommence, but in a cautious way: the broadcaster has acquired the rights for only one to two years, paying less than €5 million, reports German news magazine Der Spiegel with reference to ARD circles.

For the rights between 2009 and 2011, ARD and ZDF apparently paid around €20 million. Both decreasing ratings and the doping incidents have pushed the prices down.

According to the report, the rights contract contains a doping clause, allowing the channel an immediate pull-out in the case of new occurrences.

Commercial sports channel Eurosport will also show the Tour de France live on German TV screens.