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Reading the ASO Tea Leaves

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VN's Andy Hood has a pretty significant interview with Christian Prudhomme running today, where the Tour de France Director gives some useful insight into their team selection. A few nuggets... but then read the rest over there.

On the defending Champ:

First off, I will say I have no problem with Alberto Contador. I will also say that Astana did a lot of damage to the Tour last year. Is it a new Astana? It's too early to say if the new efforts by the team organization are working.

Hm, so this isn't about Operacion Puerco... kind of a relief. On to Slipstream:

We look on with interest at their project. I have spoken with Jonathan Vaughters. Their philosophy of how they run their team is in line with ours, on the same path that is the future of cycling. They have quality riders. We look positively on what they are building. A U.S. team is important for cycling. It's an important market for cycling and for the Tour. We like the Americans in the race.

Holy shit! Talking with the team, loves the American$ (devalued dollar and all)... I think they're going to get an invite!

Anyway, I shouldn't borrow any more here. Check it out. I'll just add that it's nice to at least hear some of the standards they're applying, so that when teams get excluded, we'll (maybe) know why.