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Clerc comments on Astana's exclusion and Vuelta ownership

Patrice Clerc

Patrice Clerc (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Defending Tour de France champion Alberto Contador will not only have to sit out his favorite French race in July, but will in fact miss all races organized by the Amaury Sports Organisation for 2008.

The Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) recently announced the teams for the upcoming Spring Classics Paris-Roubaix, La Flèche Wallonne and Liège -Bastogne-Liège, and as expected the list did not include Astana.

ASO's Patrice Clerc told the Associated Press that his organization will not change its mind on the decision to exclude Contador's Astana team from the Tour de France this summer, but that Astana would be permitted to return to its races in 2009 if the team is not plagued by doping scandals during 2008.

Meanwhile, Clerc also indicated that discussions were still ongoing with regard to ASO becoming partial owners of the Vuelta a España.

"There is a hypothetical possibility of a minority participation, of between one to 49 percent, in the capital of Unipublic," said Patrice Clerc of the Amaury Sports Organisation to the AFP. Unipublic organizes the Vuelta a España. There is no word on whether partial ownership would come with the opportunity to influence which teams are invited to the Spanish Grand Tour.

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