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Cycling: Spanish Team Astana-Wurth Asked to Withdraw from Tour de France

Tour de France organizers have asked Spanish cycling team Astana-Wurth, formerly known as Liberty Seguros, to withdraw from this year's race because of a doping scandal in Spain.

Organizers of the race are expected to apply to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland if the Astana team refuses the request to pull out. Tour officials say they do not know when Astana will make its decision. The Tour de France begins Saturday in Strasbourg.

If the Astana team withdraws, Alexandre Vinokourov of Kazahkstan will likely miss the race. Vinokourov is one of the Tour's top contenders.

Questions also have surfaced about the participation of another favorite, Jan Ullrich of Germany. Spanish media have linked the former Tour champion to the same doping scandal. Ullrich has denied any involvement.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.