Saturday, February 16, 2008

Astana out of Tour

Tour de France organizers uninvited/never invited Astana to the main event this year. Nevermind the complete overhaul of the team, including bringing Johan Bruneel in and firing all the people in charge last year (including the riders), it was not enough for the organizers. I feel like this is collective punishment, none of these guys have been implicated or tied to performance enhancing drugs. (Chris would like me to tell you however that all of them are guilty of it- in his opinion- his disdain is not just for the Astana team though).

Astana has last year's Tour de France winner Alberto Contador. He rode this amazing race, the Tour last year was marred once again by scandal, Contador's riding was a bright spot. He will not be allowed to defend his title, as Floyd Landis was not permitted last year. I wonder if the ASO (Tour organizers) are planning to do this every year? I guess on the bright side, Lance's 7 wins in a row certainly wont be broken any time soon.

Contador, Bruneel, Levi and others from Team Discovery went to Astana once Discovery stopped sponsoring the team. Cycling once again is shooting itself in the foot. How are teams to get sponsors if for arbitrary, vague and incomprehensible reasons these teams wont be allowed to ride on the biggest stage for the sponsors? Business people are not running the Tour or cycling in general, honestly I dont know that the organizers are fans of the sport anymore.

Levi only has a few more years to win the Tour, being out this year will impact his chance to ever win. Administration is getting in the way of competition- not a good thing in sports.

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