Cycling News Flash, February 13, 2008
Edited by Bjorn Haake
Astana banned by ASO - Contador unable to defend Tour de France title
Contador won the Tour in 2007,
but will be prevented from riding in 2008.
Photo ©: Sirotti
Alberto Contador, the winner of the 2007 Tour de France, will not be
able to start this year's event after his team, Astana, was not invited
to participate in La Grande Boucle. The exclusion was announced
on Wednesday in Europe by the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), owner of
the Tour de France, and it extends to all cycle races organised by the
Besides the defending Tour champion Contador, this also spells bad news
for American Levi Leipheimer, who was hoping to improve on his third-place
finish last year, and German Andreas Klöden.
ASO said it made the decision based on the doping scandals of the last
two years. In a press release ASO stated that the organisers considered
the "damages that this team has done to the Tour de France and to cycling
in general. The team Astana has betrayed the organiser's confidence last
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
For Paris-Nice, also run by ASO, three Pro Continental teams have been
included, with Agritubel, Slipstream Chipotle - H30 and Skil-Shimano.
(More reports to follow soon.)
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