Yep. I kinda thought this was coming. Think Trek will want their money back?
Tour de France organizers excluded the Astana team from competing at this year’s race Wednesday, forcing Alberto Contador to ride for another team if he wants to defend his title.
The decision to not invite Astana to the July 5-27 race was made because of the “damage caused by this team to the Tour de France and cycling in general, both in 2006 and 2007,” organizers said.
“The Astana team last year betrayed the trust of organizers.”
Amaury Sport Organization, the company that owns the Tour de France announced Wednesday that the Astana team of defending champion Alberto Contador will not be invited to compete in that race or in any other event it organizes in 2008.
…With Contador and American Levi Leipheimer on Astana, the team includes two podium finishers from last year’s Tour. Also affected is Germany’s Andreas Klöden. All three men were widely viewed as race favorites.
In a press release ASO stated that the organizers considered the “damages that this team has done to the Tour de France and to cycling in general. The team Astana has betrayed the organizer’s confidence last year.”
ASO recognized the changes having taken place in the management. They indicated they will follow Astana’s efforts to stay free of affairs in 2008 “and could therefore be considered once again for inclusion in future editions [of ASO races].”
Astana had several doping cases last year with Matthias Kessler and most spectacularly in the Tour de France with Alexander Vinokourov and Andrey Kashechkin.
Looks like I’ll be buying my morning cup of coffee from the likes of Johan Bruyneel in another year. I can’t imagine any other team would risk putting him at the helm.
Except, of course, those class acts over at Rock Racing. He’d be a perfect fit there. He could play the victim card to the hilt.
“The Tour was ‘kind enough’ to call me 15 minutes before the press release to notify me. It doesn’t come as a complete surprise, but the fact that we were singled out doesn’t make any sense to me.”
That’s funny you should say that, Johan. It makes perfect sense to me.by