Wednesday, February 13, 2008

When Does it End? Rename The Team?

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.
In a statement citing "the damage caused by this team to the Tour de France and cycling in general, as much in 2006 as 2007," ASO noted it would be inappropriate to allow the team to compete despite a complete shake-up of team management and significant changes on the squad’s roster.
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.
Contador, who also won ASO's early season stage race, Paris-Nice, was not a part of the Astana team in 2007. He and Leipheimer were both part of the U.S.-based Discovery Channel team, which folded at the end of the season. Contador, however, has been named in connection with the now-closed Operación Puerto investigation in Spain.

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