[Updated for clarity & grammar]
I wanted to let you know, that, this being America and all, dissent is the highest form of patriotism, etc.
Thus I've decided to patriotically dissent from the Great American and Partially Taiwanese Fabricated Trek Bicycle Company, Inc., LLC's campaign to Let Levi Ride.
They ask on the Let Levi Ride website, "why are they picking on Astana? It's not fair..." Okay, maybe they aren't just asking, maybe they are pouting about it too.
Indeed, it isn't fair. Unfortunately, life isn't fair, Timmy. It stopped being fair 'round about the time you left Kindergarten, and they started handing out grades, awarding medals for sports and girls started dating you based on what you got at birth, not on some quantum of talent handed out in equal portions to everybody.
Life being unfair and all, ASO is free to determine that Team High Road, which was just as bad as Astana last year while riding in T-Mobile kit, deserves to be in the TdF, having hired a guy who is a known doping critic to run the team, having registered the team in the U.S. of A and moving it away from the cadre of Spanish and Eye-Tie doctors at the heart of Puerto and other doping scandals.
Likewise, ASO is also free to weigh the facts surrounding Astana and un-invite them from the TdF. Astana hired a guy suspected of being the best doper - from a discretion standpoint - in the history of cycling, along with a couple guys who got suspiciously strong last year, even as other riders were wearing down. ASO are allowed to look at the official sponsor of Astana - a relatively sketchy government, and take that into account. ASO are permitted to consider their business interests, and the sports, and then decide that, in the balance, they don't want Astana to play.
No, it's not fair, but as far as I can tell, ASO made the decision for business purposes. They don't want further doping scandals, and Astana is the team that they judged, fairly or unfairly, most likely to blow up in their face.
Do I feel bad for Levi? Absolutely. He seems like a nice guy and doper or clean, he's a very, very good rider. Do I feel bad for the supporting cast? Yes. Disco, and now Astana, had a stable of unmatched domestiques that I love to watch. They are great riders, but they will be doing the same thing that NHL players are doing in July during the TdF... golfing and drinking beer.
Unfortunately for Astana's riders they made a bad business choice, and now the capricious, arbitrary, utterly French and vaguely ridiculous ASO is singling them out. Now they have to pay for their choice, and they will be riding NRC crits or just mounting a mid-season training camp while every other great grand tour pro is racing the TdF.
This is one of those things in life that falls under the category of, "you pays your money and you makes your choices." There is no way that this decision can be a surprise, just as a decision to ban Rabobank could not be a surprise; there is a track record there.
Thing is, actions have consequences. When we do something, we should expect to reap the rewards for it - positive or negative.
That's why I'm starting this campaign, for people who think that if you join an organization *known* for its doping habits, you shouldn't be shocked when you get banned from pro competition by the race promoter with the most on the line if you screw up.
Maybe if there were more consequences for bad choices, people would make fewer of them.