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Pro Tour Squads: Discovering Isolation?

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As was noted in comments yesterday, the IPCT -- a coalition of cycling teams headed by Quick Step's Patrick Lefevre, who has no history whatsoever with doping -- has expelled Discovery from its ranks in retribution for signing Ivan Basso. While it's not clear to me what power, if any, the IPCT wields, they at least seem to represent a coalition of squads determined to translate the Operacion Puerco mess into some form of justice. Ivan Basso has been cleared by his home federation of wrongdoing, but not by Lefevre, so his blackballing is Johan Bruyneel's. Active Bay's too.

What this means is not clear. On Monday, the UCI Pro Cycling Tour is expected to announce its 20 teams for this year's planned third season of the all-inclusive series. Whether that comes to pass is probably the big story of 2007, but for now at least, we should soon know which 20 teams should be making plans for the start line in Poland.

Discovery have a contract and nobody thinks the Pro Tour will be taking the IPCT's recommendations and excluding the American team. So maybe this is merely a symbolic maneuver that we won't hear from again. Maybe Discovery will have one less set of bureaucratic meetings to attend. But it's a shot across the bow, and as I've suggested before, other entities (le Tour) might be looking for this kind of pretext for more severe actions.