I don't know what to think.In contrast to its policy in the 2010 Amgen Tour of California, organizer AEG announced today that it will not exclude riders, teams or staff who are under open anti-doping rule violations from the 2011 race.
"[It was] USADA's recommendation to us that we remove that rule," said AEG president Andrew Messick. "It is not consistent with the WADA code, and USADA believes that it is not consistent with due process and the rights of athletes, either. The UCI (International Cycling Union) is no longer enforcing that rule is what we've been told. We feel it is inappropriate for us to be out of compliance with both USADA and the UCI with regard to issues relating to the eligibility of athletes."
The change was in stark contrast to the 2008 event, when AEG steadfastly barred Rock Racing's riders Tyler Hamilton, Oscar Sevilla and Santiago Botero from being included in the team's roster for the Tour of California. The trio protested by following the race route outside of the field.
Messick defended their past decision, saying, "We followed our rule in 2008 and, based on the landscape at the time, we felt - and continue to feel - that we behaved appropriately."