After the final word from Tour de France organiser ASO that the Astana team has no chance of competing in the 2008 edition, defending champion Alberto Contador will take a break from competition before returning in August. Since winning the Giro d'Italia, the Spaniard has expressed a desire to claim the Vuelta a España and become only the fifth rider to win all three Grand Tours.
But before that there is also the small matter of two Olympic medals on offer at the road race and time trial in Beijing. "In theory his next race will be the Clasica San Sebastian in the beginning of August and then the Olympics," Astana spokesman Philippe Maertens told AP.
"Of course Contador wanted to go to the Tour, but it is difficult," added Maertens. "We said we will try to do as good as possible in other races so that the Tour de France will regret what they do, so that they will be the loser in the end. That is what is happening now."
Astana will now turn its attention to the Dauphiné Libéré from June 8-16 with former winner Levi Leipheimer and the Tour de Suisse from June 14-22 with Andreas Klöden.