13 February, 2008

News Flash: Astana barred from ASO events

The organizers of the Tour de France announced Wednesday that the Astana team of defending champion Alberto Contador will not be invited to compete in the race or in any other event organized by Amaury Sport Organisation.

Citing a two-year history of doping scandal, 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.

Contador, who also won ASO's early season stage race, Paris-Nice, was not a part of the Astana team in 2007. He and Leiphemer 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 Operacion Puerto investigation in Spain.

The decision by ASO comes after Giro d'Italia organizers opted not to invite the team to this year's edition of Italy's grand tour.



munsoned said...

I don't know if it sucks, but it does mean that at least one other team has a chance of winning. I don't know how I feel about this. On the one hand, it would have been nice to see Astana dominate. But on the other, this is a huge step in the fight against doping. This action should make any current doper realize that really bad things can happen to not only them, but their team, and ultimately the sport. If Vino or Kash ever try to come back, I doubt they will be welcomed by anyone, especially not the fans. They were the direct reason for this. Hopefully other dopers will realize this also.

Matt N said...

They are just trying to avoid levi, kloden, and contador running the tour. Take a look at Cofidis and Highroad. They both received invites and had riders kicked out last year, but they get to ride the tour. It's all politics and it is a shame it has to happen to alberto because he has such a promising career.

Shim said...

Its BS no two ways about it. How come these socialist don't believe in innocent until proven guilty? Also whats with the them always favoring French teams? Richard Virenque admits to doping, is welcomed back with open arms and is considered a hero.

Matt N said...

Virenque is even the tour commentator for french TV. Look at Moreau he was at festina and was definetly a doper and he is french champion and loved by everyone. Astana just needs to sign some promising young french rider that everyone thinks will win the tour, but will never pan out. Look at Sylvain Chavanel and every other french rider that raises their hopes.