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Astana team banned from Tour de France

©

Latest update : 2008-02-14

Tour de France organisers confirmed title holder Alberto Contador's team Astana would not take part in the 2008 edition of the world's most famous cycle race, following its involvement in doping scandals last year.

Astana, the team of last year's winner Alberto Contador of Spain, will no take part in the 2008 Tour de France cycle race, Tour director Christian Prudhomme said on Wednesday.
 

Astana will not be invited to any of the events organised by Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) this year, among them the Tour, Prudhomme told Reuters.
 

The team, who Contador joined in a two-year deal last October, have already been omitted from the list of 21 teams due
to compete in this year's Giro d'Italia.
 

Astana has changed its structure after the team were forced to pull out of last year's Tour in July when Kazakh rider
Alexander Vinokourov, who has since retired, tested positive for blood doping.
 

"Astana have appointed a new leadership and their manager Johan Bruyneel has asked us to trust them but we can't,"
Prudhomme told Reuters.
 

Astana took over from Liberty Seguros, a team that was left out of the 2006 Tour after several of their riders were barred
from taking part in the race because of their alleged implication in the doping investigation named Operacion Puerto.
 

"We remember what happened in 2006," said Prudhomme. "Then came 2007 with a new team who asked us to trust them. We did that and paid dearly for it."
 

Contador is currently riding in the Mallorca Challenge and broke clear at the front on Wednesday.
 

The Spaniard then drew close to the television crew car covering the event, shouting "Astana for the Tour, Astana for
the Tour," before being chased down by the peloton four kilometres from the finish line.
 

ASO's move comes despite International Cycling Union (UCI) president Pat McQuaid saying last week that Tour de France
organisers should include the Astana team in this year's race despite the doping scandals of 2007.
 

"There is no reason why Astana should not be invited to the Tour de France," McQuaid told Cycling Weekly magazine.
 

The other events organised by ASO are Paris-Nice, a stage race won by Contador last year, as well as prestigious one-day races Paris-Roubaix, the Fleche Wallonne, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Paris-Tours.

Date created : 2008-02-13

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