It has been reported that German cyclist and T-Mobile rider Patrik Sinkewitz failed an out-of-competition drug test, showing an elevated testosterone ratio, on June 8 of this year. Sinkewitz has since abandoned the Tour de France after a crash in the eighth stage. The T-Mobile team has suspended him, though his B-sample has yet to be tested. As a result, the German Television stations, ARD and ZDF have suspended all coverage of the Tour. “We couldn't wait any longer to pull out the yellow card,” said ZDF Editor-in-Chief Nikolaus Brender on Wednesday. “It was time to wipe the slate clean.” In addition, ZDF has announced that it is seeking financial redress from Tour organizers. “We bought the rights to a clean sporting event,” Brender told the Berliner Zeitung when questioned about the move.
Matters continued to worsen for German cycling on Thursday. Spiegel Online, a German publication, reports that â€œPeter Danckert, head of the parliamentary committee dealing with public funding of sports, said that it was time to take a look at whether public funding should be cut to all top-level sporting events.â€ Danckert was quoted as saying â€œPublic funding isn't just being called into question. Stuttgart will very likely have to do without. That, in any case, is my opinion. And that is true for cycling in general and also for other sports.” Danckert was referring to the cycling world championships scheduled to be held in Stuttgart in late September.
After last year’s Tour victor, Floyd Landis, was found guilty of taking a banned substance (his appeal is still pending) the International Cycling Union (UCI) and Tour de France organizers have gone to great lengths to paint the sport in a new light. The UCI unveiled a series of new measures to combat doping. The main initiative is the â€œRiders’ commitment to a new Cycling.â€
The commitment states, in part,
â€œI do solemnly declare, to my team, my colleagues, the UCI, the cycling movement and the public that I am not involved in the Puerto affair nor in any other doping case and that I will not commit any infringement to the UCI anti-doping rules. As proof of my commitment, I accept, if it should happen that I violate the rules and am granted a standard sanction of a two-year suspension or more, in the Puerto affair or in any other anti-doping proceedings, to pay the UCI, in addition to the standard sanctions, an amount equal to my annual salary for 2007 as a contribution to the fight against doping.â€
Sinkewitz is one of the many riders to sign the Commitment. He is currently in the hospital after reportedly undergoing surgery to repair injuries sustained in the Stage 8 crash. He has denied any wrongdoing. If he is confirmed guilty, he faces a two-year ban and the payment of his 2007 salary to the UCI.
The full Riders’ commitment to a new Cycling can be read at the UCI website.
Sources: International Cycling Union, Spiegel Online