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No decision yet on Geox-TMC invitation to the Vuelta

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The 2011 Vuelta a Espana route

The 2011 Vuelta a Espana route (Image credit: Unipublic)
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Denis Menchov has left Rabobank for the new Geox-TMC team

Denis Menchov has left Rabobank for the new Geox-TMC team (Image credit: ISPA)
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Carlos Sastre at the Geox-TMC camp in Vilaseca

Carlos Sastre at the Geox-TMC camp in Vilaseca (Image credit: María Rodríguez)

Organisers of the Vuelta a España remain undecided regarding Geox-TMC's participation in the event this year. The Spanish team has already been excluded from the Tour de France although race director Julian Guillen stated separately that Alberto Contador would be welcome at the race.

Geox-TMC's two captains have both done well in the Vuelta in the past; Denis Menchov won the race in 2005 and 2007 while Carlos Sastre has finished on the podium three times.

As a Professional Continental team, Geox-TMC would need a wildcard invitation to the Vuelta. The wildcards are “unrestricted,” Guillen told Europa Press. The Tour de France “is entitled to issue its invitations as it sees fit. I respect that. We also have freedom for our criteria in the selection of teams.”

He put the blame on the team, however. “Perhaps the question would be not why Geox is not one of the four wildcards, but why the team has not satisfied the qualification criteria which required it to be among the 16 or 18 which are automatically invited.”

Guillen said that the invitations would be issued “after the Giro d'Italia”. He added that “I do not deny that Sastre and Menchov are highly qualified riders. A decision has not yet been made, but they are also not excluded.”

“Delighted” to have Contador

Guillen also said that he would be “delighted” to have Alberto Contador ride the Vuelta this year. Contador is scheduled to hear this week whether he will be suspended for a positive doping control from the Tour de France.

If Contador is found guilty and given a one-year ban, he would probably be able to ride the Vuelta, which starts on August 20.

"We would be delighted if Contador could contest the Vuelta, among other things because it would mean that administrative-sport status would allow it, but at this time there is no sense in discussing it, because everything we say today may not worth anything tomorrow,” said Guillen.

He added that he knew "absolutely nothing beyond what has been published in the media," and would make no further comment “until there is a resolution.”