Sources close to the Amaury Sports Organization have leaked news that invitations to the 2008 Tour de France may be extended to entertainers Jerry Lewis and David Hasselhoff instead of high caliber Pro Tour cycling teams Astana and High Road.
While there has been no official announcement at this point, it has been widely reported that the ASO, which also runs Paris-Nice and a number of other prominent races, is intent on deciding who will compete in their events without the influence of the UCI and Pro Tour. The inclusion of Lewis and Hasselhoff would be a clear indication that the rift between the two organizations is as strong as ever.
Further enhancing rumors that the two American actor/comedians will be extended invitations to the 2008 Tour de France is the recent announcement that Giro d’Italia organizers RCS have requested that Sophia Loren and Francis Ford Coppola replace Astana and High Road at the start line of the second most prestigous stage race in the world.
"It has been well documented that Astana and High Road both have a history of doping violations. The fact that the current teams have cleaned house in almost every respect and have implemented some of the most advanced internal testing programs in the sport does not make up for the past indiscretions of people who aren't even affiliated with the team anymore," explained a source within the ASO who asked to remain anonymous.
"In fact, we feel an obligation to punish those individuals who attempt to salvage formerly tarnished teams and have the gall to employ reputedly clean riders who want to race at the highest level of the sport,” the source continued. “We really don't care about 'sponsors' or trivial things like that, so we will probably just invite Jerry Lewis and David Hasselhoff instead."
When questioned about Hasselhoff’s recent issues with alcohol, the source quickly responded, "Hey, we're French remember? If we took umbrage with every alcoholic out there…well, let me tell you, we just don't have that kind of time.
“Besides, Jerry Lewis is practically French royalty and the Germans love them some David Hasselhoff. We are really hoping that these two European icons will significantly increase our broadcasting revenue,” the source explained.
“The whole German TV withdrawal after the T-Mobile rider was kicked out last year was brutal. But if the man who played Michael Knight and Mitch Buchannon can’t get them watching again, then I don’t know who will. And since Jerry Lewis is liable to say any number of offensive things in public these days, he is perfect candidate for one of our Wild Card entries.”
Questions about overall competitiveness and race quality went unanswered as the source was called away by ASO officials to view a Nutty Professor/Baywatch Nights double feature.