The Astana team will be allowed to contest this year's Vuelta a España, the organiser Unipublic announced Tuesday. After being refused entry to the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia, the team of the 2007 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador was expecting to target the Vuelta in the latter part of the season. The team had received a word of support from the Spanish Tour director Victor Cordero in February, but had to wait for today's official invitation to be certain.
Of the 18 ProTour teams, only Team High Road is not on the list, having withdrawn its application for the race. Three wild card teams were invited, making a total of 20 teams for this year's edition. The Spanish Karpin Galicia team of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey winner David Garcia Dapena earned a nod, as did the Andalucía - Cajasur team of sprinter Francisco Ventoso, a former Vuelta stage winner. The Tinkoff Credit Systems team rounds out the roster.
The Unipublic statement said that 33 teams had requested to be included in the 2008 edition and that the teams which were chosen "meet the necessary requirements in terms of ethics, image and administrative matters" and are categorized by the UCI as "wild card" teams – a label which requires teams to adhere to the biological passport program and other considerations.
Unipublic also explained that, due to limits on hotel capacities in some host towns and the conditions of some roads, the roster had to be limited to 20 teams.
Teams for 2008 Vuelta a España
AG2R - La Mondiale
Cofidis, Credit Par Telephone
Euskaltel - Euskadi
Française Des Jeux
Saunier Duval - Scott
Tinkoff Credit Systems*
* indicates wild card teams