Contador and Astana kicked out of Tour de France
The Astana team of reigning Tour de France champion Alberto Contador have been barred from competing in this year's race as a result of doping scandals over the past two years, organisers confirmed on Wednesday.
ASO (Amaury Sport Organisation) said that given "the damage caused by this team to the Tour de France and cycling in general, as much in 2006 as 2007" they had decided to prevent Astana from competing in any of their races.
As well as Spaniard Contador the decision also effects American Levi Leipheimer, who finished third last year, and Germany's Andreas Kloden, widely considered as one of the race favourites.
The Luxembourg-registered Kazakh team were forced to withdraw from the 2007 Tour de France and were snubbed by the Spanish Vuelta in September after a string of doping scandals.
The team's former leader Alexandre Vinokourov was fired after testing positive for a blood transfusion during the Tour, while riders Andrej Kashechkin and Matthias Kessler also failed doping tests.
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