No Astana in Giro

The Astana Cycling Team regrets that it has not been selected to participate in the Tour of Italy 2008. The team, which has undergone major changes during the last several months, received only a brief explanation from Giro organizers, RCS who cited a lack of interest among Astana top contenders Contador and Leipheimer to truly compete in Giro. RCS made clear they expected what can be described as a more committed team line up for their race.

RCS Events Director Angelo Zomegnan: "At this moment, the quality of the proposed participating riders for the Giro is not in proportion to the potential of the team. I do not take into consideration what happened with the old Astana in the past. Time probably cures all things."

Astana Team Manager Johan Bruyneel: "The Giro direction has the freedom of choice. We regret that. Lodging a complaint will not help us. The coming weeks, we will prove that we still have our place in all big cycling events. Fortunately, my sponsors confirmed today their unconditional support. With their support, we started building a new team in a clean environment. We will continue on that way. I hope, for cycling in general, that the sponsors of the other non-selected teams react in the same way."

Astana sports director Alain Gallopin: "I came last year to the Giro as sports director of a small CSC team. We surprised the world with Andy Schleck. I had the intention to motivate Jani Brajkovic in the same way as I did with Schleck. At our training camp in Albuquerque last week, we had the chance to discuss Andreas Klden's year program. He liked to participate in the Giro d'Italia. The race fits perfectly in his planning. We never had the chance to discuss it with the organizers. Like riders as Paolo Bettini and Danilo Di Luca, Alberto Contador and Levi Leipheimer cannot participate in every race of the cycling calendar. However, we have quality riders enough to win top events. With the pedals we will prove that we have a strong team. Already in February and March, Astana Cycling Team participates in Mallorca, California, Algarve, Valencia, Het Volk, Kuurne, Murcia, Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo, Castilla y Leon, Harebeke and Critrium International- a busy programme. We will not pass unnoticed through these races."

Johan Bruyneel: "If the Giro directors would reconsider their selection, we will be ready for it. Above all, we hope, for the Tour of Italy as well as for cycling in general, that the Giro can go on. All IPCT members decided in their General Assemble of January 17th not to participate in races where Procontinental teams start if their riders do not have a biological passport. There will be a lot of work to do for some teams..."