- Article published:
- March 28, 2009, 00:00
- Gregor Brown
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Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), organisers of the Ardennes Classics, LiÃ¨ge-Bastogne-LiÃ¨ge, la FlÃ¨che Wallonne, announced the invitation of 25 teams to the April events on Friday. As anticipated, all of the ProTour squads except for Fuji-Servetto were on the list. The Fuji-Servetto team, formerly known as Saunier Duval, was forced to exit the Tour de France last year after the doping positive of Riccardo RiccÃ². In post-Tour analyses, LeÃ³nardo Piepoli was also declared positive for EPO CERA.
Fuji-Servetto was also left off the start list for Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo, but it won a spot in the latter Italian races, organised by RCS Sport, after appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Eight wild card teams were invited to round out the start list: The Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator, Barloworld, Skil-Shimano, Vacansoleil, CervÃ©lo, Agritubel and Diquigiovanni teams.
As previously reported, the LPR Brakes Farnese Vini team of former LiÃ¨ge-Bastogne-LiÃ¨ge and FlÃ¨che Wallonne winner Danilo Di Luca did not receive an invitation.
Milram, Quick Step, Silence-Lotto, Saxo Bank, Caisse d'Epargne, Euskaltel, Garmin, Columbia, AG2R-La Mondiale, Bbox Bouygues Telecom, Cofidis, FranÃ§aise des Jeux, Lampre-NGC, Liquigas, Astana, Rabobank and Katusha make up the ProTour teams list.
Barloworld manager Claudio Corti was excited to receive the invitations. "We're very proud to have been invited to take part in Fleche-Wallonne and LiÃ¨ge-Bastogne-LiÃ¨ge and the news boosts our motivation and team spirit for the spring. We're pleased that ASO have put faith in us and we'll ride aggressively in both races," Corti said.