Leipheimer Responds to ASO Decision, Kloden Has Not

Third place rider in the 2007 Tour de France and reigning American USPro cycling champion Levi Leipheimer, reacted to the non-selection of Astana in ASO races for 2008: "I am in shock and I am very dissapointed. Along with my friends, family and supporters I can't understand why we are not allowed to take part in the Tour and defend Alberto's title with two other riders capable of winning, myself included. We are all left wondering. I chose this team as it was a very new team, which Ive already experienced. Of course I stand by my decision to join this new Astana team for 2008. In a sportive way we will fight back with the whole team. The many encouragements I already received today mean a lot to me."

The shock of the exclusion of Astana from the Tour de France has hit hard, and since the news broke yesterday news agencies have continued to spread the story. In regard to this situation many quotations are coming out from all the big names in cycling, including the head of Gerolsteiner, Hans Michael Holczer who wonders if Astana's Andreas Kloden should change teams. In the middle of some of these press releases is a quote allegedly from Andreas that says, "I do not understand the world anymore. I've already had five or six doping controls and they have all been negative. I suffer because of the doping done in the past. None of the riders that doped are in the team now but still we always get hit in the neck with these accusations."

But in checking with Andreas the team has found that no such quote exists. Neither Andreas Kloden, nor Philippe Maertens, the press spokesman of Team Astana knew about it. "While it is not bad what was written here, it is not factual either and will just be good for selling papers," said Maertens. Rest assured if and when Andreas or any of the other riders and staff comment, you'll find it here on the Official Astana Cycling Team website.