Astana pulled from Tour

The Tour organisation confirm that Alexandre Vinokourov and his Astana-Wurth team-mates will not be

The Tour organisation confirm that Alexandre Vinokourov and his Astana-Wurth team-mates will not be

PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM

The only detail remaining to be confirmed at the end of a very long eve of Tour de France day was the confirmation on whether the Astana-Wurth team would be allowed to start after five of their riders were named in the Operacion Puerto inquiry summary.

Although the team had been cleared to start the Tour by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Thursday after previously being asked not to start by the Tour organisation, Friday's news from Spain effectively reversed that decision.

This time there was no need for arbitration by the CAS. With major names already sidelined by their teams after being implicated in the Operacion Puerto investigation, Astana were left with just four likely starters and most of Thursday's defence of their case swept away.

On Friday afternoon a release was put out listing the Tour starters, but with 'en attente' ('awaiting') written in pen across the Astana line-up. At 8.30, the final list was produced and this showed just 20 teams and 176 riders. Astana were out, and the Tour is set to start with 22 riders less than was planned just three weeks ago.

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