June 26, 2006
ASO withdraws invitation to Astaná-Wurth
Two Spanish newspapers report that Tour de France organizers faxed Astaná-Würth co-manager Pablo Antón and the UCI that the team is not welcome at Saturday's start in Strasbourg.
Antón said he would appeal immediately to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne. His team is participating in the Tour under the auspices of the UCI ProTour, and as recently as Thursday, the UCI maintained it doesn't have sufficient evidence to exclude the squad.
Apparently, Tour organizers decided to withdraw the invitation late Monday, after the story in El Pais that claimed 15 members of the team were involved in the blood doping operation of Eufemiano Fuentes in Madrid.
I can understand the Tour's reluctance to have a team under a cloud in the race, but I don't think it's right to exclude a team on the basis of a newspaper story, even a well-sourced and believable one. When this story first hit, there were reportedly 200 riders involved — that's already been whittled down to 58.
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This tour without Vino? Maybe Discovery can pick him up.
Posted by: Nuri at Jun 26, 2006 10:09:49 PM
I wonder if T-Mobile team would get the same response if more ties to Jan where found.
Posted by: Charles Verge at Jun 29, 2006 8:15:22 AM