Respectfully, I ask that your organization reconsider it's recent decision not to invite Astana to participate in ASO events this year including the Tour de France. Punishing Levi Leipheimer, a decorated podium finisher and legitimate 2008 GC contender for the activities of former members of a totally rebuilt team is not in the best interest of the sport or the venerable traditions of your race.
While I sympathize with your efforts to enforce a new code of conduct/accountability and realize this couldn't have been an easy decision, I don't believe this is a decision in concert with the highest principles of French justice and Liberté.
The Tour is certainly bigger than any single rider or team, and road cycling's premier event has survived many ups and downs through its storied history. I fervently hope that you'll monitor Astana's behavior this spring and come to the conclusion that your race will be diminished by Mr. Leipheimer's exclusion.
Punish the team financiers if you must punish anyone with a substantial fine that can be applied to additional drug testing and laboratory controls.
To deny an athlete of Levi's calibre and character at the zenith of his abilities is not an honourable action. Le Tour has the power to bring about a rapprochement, heal cycling's wounds and protect athletes who honour the sport and your race. This is within your power.Support Levi by writing your letter to the ASO and visit LetLeviRide.com