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Cycling Team Astana Remains Out Of Tour De France

The AST or Astana group is one of the most recognized Pro Cycling teams; their history dates back to the 2006 season when there was a sponsorship change due to the team's deep doping implication.
The following year in 2007 the group was handed an UCI ProTeam status.
Astana's headquarters are currently located in Luxemburg .
After the Operacion Puerto doping scandal which involved the team leader of Russian-Kazakhstan descent Alexander Vinokourov the team has faced many disappointments as several international committees have closed the doors to participate in events such; Il Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France despite the team renovating their cyclists rota.
The Spaniard cyclist Alberto Contador who had previously been part of the no longer in existence Discovery Channel team is now the main Astana's cyclist and one of his major achievements is the 2007 Tour de France triumph.
Other wins we can mention are: Setmana-Catalana 2005, Vuelta al País Vasco 2007, and Paris-Nice 2007.
The earlier decision which denied Astana to participate in the 2008 Giro edition was overruled as the organizers decided to allow Contador's and Astana's participation; but this action has not echoed in this year's main Pro Cycling jewel - the Tour de France.
The Amaury Sport Organization which manages the tour and other important races has made it very clear as their decision regarding the banning to participate stands...
they want to take the doping sanctions to a higher level therefore; the decision is final.
"Our management took a decision.
We will wait for one year," ASO spokesman Christophe Marchadier said by telephone.
"One year to wait and see, and we will have another look next year.
" On the other hand; Astana sporting director Johan Bruyneel has in several occasions mentioned that the ASO's decision is "extremely unfair, illogical, ridiculous and arrogant," as other groups which were also involved in the doping incident have not been treated the same way Astana has.
Basically, they have been punished more severely to the point of possible Astana's dissolving.
Nevertheless; Contador as well as other riders like Andreas Kloeden, Levi Leipheimer and Astana's manager will be present in this year's Spanish Vuelta which will begin on August 30th.
The judging on whether the ASO's stand is extreme or not will be up to each one of us but one thing is certain the use of prohibited drugs has damaged the sport repeatedly; and last year the Tour was the event that took the lowest blow of them all.
Somehow ASO needs to regain credibility and it seems this is the route they are taking to reinstitute the faith, the glamor and the love for professional cycling.

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