As if the owners and organizers of the Tour de France haven’t done enough stupid stuff in the past few years, they’ve already gone ahead and ruined the 2008 Tour.

How? By not including Team Astana. In other words, 2007 winner Alberto Contador and my main man (who took 3rd last year, by the way) Levi Leipheimer won’t be able to compete.

levi leipheimer

It’s ridiculous! This could be Levi’s best shot at the win! (And he’s like 35 now, it’s not like he can say “oh well I’ll just try again some other year.”)

So… they’re kicking out the good riders so that we can watch a bunch of mediocre competitors? How exciting… :/ (Note that I’m using “mediocre” in a relative sense.)

That will suck for viewers, but it will be much worse for the riders that are still there. In my experience, winning a race due to the fact that better racers didn’t show up isn’t much of a win.

And here’s the dumbest part of all this – the lame reasoning behind it. Tour director Christian Prudhomme said the Astana team was left out due to their tarnished reputation and the fact that they couldn’t be trusted.

Now that may have had some merit last year, but this is a totally revamped team. Not only does it include two incredible athletes in Contador and Leipheimer, but legendary Team director Johan Bruyneel. All the dopers were thrown out.

So really what’s happening is that Astana is being penalized for reinventing itself into a reputable team. They took a stance against doping and now have a good organization – and they were denied an invitation to the Tour!

But we can fight back! Sign the petition: www.LetLeviRide.com

let levi ride

Photo credit: Neeta Lind

2 Comments
  1. Astana is getting the shaft this season. The new rules allowing race directors to pick and choose which teams they take is simply not working. The UCI needs to step up and fix this.

    In my mind the Tour de France is still the greatest bicycle race on the planet but with the the French labs scared reputation for accurate drug testing, race directors net inviting some of the best teams, and the increasing popularity of cycling in the US, it may not be long until no one really cares about The Tour.

    If they are not careful, they will eventually make themselves irrelevant. Just because they are currently the most prestigious is enough to keep them there.

    The only up side (only for a US based spectator)to all of this is the fact that we’ll probably get to see some better riders at the US races (Go Tour of MO) because these guys aren’t going to be focusing on France

  2. Great points Brad.

    Maybe some teams will show up here in July for the Tour de Toona which attracts some good competition already (Jittery Joe’s, Slipstream, BMC, etc.)

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