European broadcasters invest in top cycling races

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FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2011, file photo, Lance Armstrong pauses during an interview in Austin, Texas. Armstrong resisted turning over records sought by U.S Postal Service investigators, then tried to keep the inquiry under seal and out of the public eye, according to recently released court documents. (AP Photo/Thao Nguyen, File)


GENEVA (AP) — The European Broadcasting Union has shown its faith in cycling, announcing a third long-term race broadcasting deal since Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.

The EBU, which has members in 56 countries, extended its commitment on Wednesday to the one-day classic Amstel Gold Race through to 2016.

Despite cycling's damaged image after the Armstrong case, Europe's public broadcasters also extended rights deals in recent weeks for the Tour of Flanders one-day classic and Criterium du Dauphine stage race.

Stefan Kuerten, the EBU director of sports and business, told The Associated Press he faced "substantial interest" from rival bidders.

Kuerten says broadcasters believe "cycling is on the way ... to being a proper sport again without having any problems with doping."