No Paris-Nice, No Paris-Roubaix (not that Bruyneel cares about the classics), but especially No Tour.
On the one hand ASO has a point in that this is the second year in a row that Astana has changed management in the wake of doping scandals and it is fair to make them prove the changes are for real this time.
on the other hand Bruyneel points out:
“ASO does not invite us because of the past of a team that had the same name. Many other teams, with a similar suspicious past, that even did not change management or structure, can participate without problems. Where is the consistency? Is Tour the France not loosing all credibility now?”
This kind of makes Astana this years Unibet, except the Vuelta is welcoming them with open arms (kind of like 2006 all over again). ASO also was strategic in inviting all the other ProTour teams to Paris-Nice thus pretty much silencing any outcry like there was over the Giro.
It should be interesting to see how this plays out over the season and whether Astana exists next year. I suppose we can wonder if Contador is all hype and if he could actually win a Grand Tour that isn't handed to him in the Vuelta this year.