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ASO to withdraw Würth's TdF invite?

By:
Anthony Tan, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer
Published:
May 31, 2006, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 20, 2009, 23:15 BST
Edition:
Latest Cycling News for May 31, 2006

The Spanish newspaper AS reports that on Friday, the Tour de France organisers ASO will withdraw...

The Spanish newspaper AS reports that on Friday, the Tour de France organisers ASO will withdraw their invitation to the Liberty Seguros-Würth Team, now known as Würth. Former race director Jean-Marie Leblanc announced that the Tour would take "vigorous measures" against any teams found to be implicated in the Spanish doping scandal.

However, according to AS, ASO cannot unilaterally remove Manolo Saiz's team from the race because of the way the current ProTour rules stand, which was also communicated by ProTour manager Alain Rumpf to the press on the final day of the Giro d'Italia. To withdraw Würth's invite, the TdF organisers will have to await a ruling from the UCI as to whether the team is still a part of the ProTour, and is therefore eligible to participate or not.

AS also reports that ASO will prevent Spanish pro continental team Comunidad Valenciana from racing the Tour, although the announcement has not been officially made yet. Comunidad Valenciana isn't a ProTour squad, and was invited at the descretion of the race organisers, but the implication of its assistant director Ignacio Labarta in "Operación Puerto" seems to have put its Tour spot in jeopardy.

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