The Astana team of 2007 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador may have turned its attention to giving the young Spaniard the title in the Vuelta a España after it had been excluded from this year's Tour, but Vuelta director Victor Cordero, has made it clear that if Astana does "anything stupid" it could lose its place in his event.
The team's invitation was revoked for last year's event after the doping positives of 2006 Vuelta winner Alexander Vinokourov and third overall Andrey Kashechkin. According to Marca, Cordero was firm in his commitment to maintaining the image of his race, and would hold no qualms about rescinding the Astana team's invitation.
"I am not just talking about [doping] positives. I mean anything that undermines the image of cycling or the Vuelta," Cordero said. "Everyone knows our history. Last year we decided to leave out Astana, and four Spaniards had to stay home," he recalled.
The Unipublic director did acknowledge the change in the Kazakh team, but expressed the same wait and see attitude as which has been taken by Tour de France organiser ASO, who, not coincidentally, announced earlier this week that it might take minority stake in Unipublic. "It has only been nine months since this team has changed, and I want to emphasize one thing, the only problem with the absence of Astana is Alberto Contador, who deserves all the respect because he will be the future of the cycling world," Cordero concluded.