Astana and High Road not invited for 2008 Giro d' Italia

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02.02.2008/ Giro d'Italia organiser RCS announced which teams are invited for this years Giro, Milano - San Remo and Tirreno - Adriatico. The organizers of the three Grand Tours are no longer part of the UCI Pro - Tour and four Pro - Tour teams did not receive an invitation and will therefore not start at the Giro. Astana, Bouygues Telecom, Credit Agricole and Team High Road requested an invitation but will not be allowed to start. Earlier this week Tour de France organiser ASO announced that defending champ Alberto Contador will not automaticly get an invitation for this years Tour de France.

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George Hincapie will not start at the Giro (© Cyclingheroes)

The Giro organisers stated that the invitations were given on the basis of ethics and quality. The teams also have to participate in the biological passport programme and the race organisers said they have the right to take back an invitation anytime for whatever reason. 34 teams requested for an invitation.
Four Pro-Tour teams did not receive an invitation: Astana, Bouygues Telecom, Credit Agricole and Team High Road. The 2000 overall winner of the Giro d'Italia, Stefano Garzelli will also not start at this years Giro d'Italia. Garzelli's team aqua & Sapone also didn't receive an invitation.  
Team High Road's press officer Stefan Wagner said: "We will immediately contact the race organisers." Wagner did not want to make additional comments until High Road representatives have discussed the matter with RCS offcials.
High Road's Italian rider Marco Pinotti said on his personal website "I am shocked. The first reaction is: we are back to where we were 4 years ago, without the Pro - Tour, where selection criteria were not clear and probably driven by political and economic issues."

Pinotti continued by saying: "I mean, that at least with the ProTour a team could buy a license. Now a team 'buys' a participation and there is war between several teams and unions."

Pinotti conded by saying: "The Protour system has some problems, but it was better than this one: it's far west."
Astana's press officer Philipp Maertens said the Astana team was caught by surprise. Maertens told Belgian based website "This is nothing to laugh about.. We are stunned. Johan Bruyneel [team manager Astana] will try to reach Giro-boss Zomegnan to learn to know about his motivation for the decision."
Maertens continued by saying: "We don't see the logical of it because at our team everything is alright. I don't think there is a team which carries out more internal tests. Not until we know the explanation of the Giro we can give an official reaction but we were hit rock bottom.
The four Pro - Tour teams and Aqua & Sapone also did not receive an invitation for Milano - San Remo and Tirreno - Adriatico.

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Andreas Klöden will not start at the Giro (© Cyclingheroes)

The new Astana of Johan Bruyneel can't be sure that the team will receive an invitation for the Tour de France as well. Patric Clerc, president of Tour organiser ASO told reporters on Friday that last years tour win of Astana's Alberto Contador is not a guarantee that the team will receive an invitation. Clerc: "We select teams, not individual riders." 
Former Giro winners Gilberto Simoni (Diquigiovanni),  Danilo Di Luca and Paolo Savoldelli (LPR) will be able to start after their teams were amongst those teams which received an invitation.
Tinkoff Credit Systems cycling team also has been selected as one of the 21 teams participating in the 2008 Giro d'Italia. "We are extremely pleased to learn that we have been chosen by the race organizers to compete for a second time in one of the most important races in the world," explains team president Oleg Tinkov, "the invitation is a cause for celebration, but with it comes great responsibility towards the race organizers of the RCS," Tinkov continued, "our season has only just began, and with this news, we can look forward to preparing for our participation."
The 21 teams for the 2008 Giro d'Italia: AG2R-La Mondiale, Cofidis, Française des Jeux (all France), Barloworld (Great Britain), Caisse d’Epargne, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Saunier Duval-Scott (all Spain), CSF Group-Navigare, LPR Brakes (All Irland), Diquigiovanni-Androni (Venezuela), Gerolsteiner, Team Milram (All Germany), Lampre, Liquigas, Tinkoff Credit Systems (all Italy), NGC Medical - OTC Indutria Porte (Switzerland), Quick Step, Silence-Lotto (all Belgium), Rabobank (Netherlands), Slipstream (USA), Team CSC (Denmark).

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