Outside the normal topics for this blog, but I have to ask, "What were they thinking?" or more likely, "What did they expect?"
The organizations of both the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia have decided to not invite Team Astana to their events this year. Not only does this cover two of the biggest national tours, but it includes about a dozen other races these organizations manage - some of the biggest one-day races on the professional calendar.
Why has Astana been excluded? How about apparently rampant doping?
Yes, I know that the team management and riders have been (nearly) completely swept out and replaced. But, come on. Why in the world would Johan Bruyneel, who was aiming for retirement, decide to align himself with a team name that was so infamous? And then to bring half of the former Team Discovery, including Alberto Contador?
Unfortunately, this means one of the strongest rosters will not be available for these exciting races. If you are worried about this, have a look at the online campaigns to get Alberto Contador and Levi Leipheimer (and their team) back to the Tour.