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The list of unwelcome stars in the 2007 World Championships grew rather longer on Wednesday morning when it emerged that cycling legend Eddy Merckx had not received an invitation from the Stuttgart organising committee to be present at the race.

Merckx, together with Germans Dietrich Thurau and Rudi Altig, not to mention double World Champion Gianni Bugno have all been declared persona non grata.

?We wanted to make an example.? World?s spokesman Jorg Kopfler said in the Belgian press.

?The people who have not received an invitation belong to an epoch when there was greater tolerance as regards doping. We should promote cleaner cycling. It?s in no case a personal attack.?

Eddy Merckx reacted to the non-invitation in his usual uncompromising style: ?There are idiots everywhere and that includes Germany.?

?I wasn?t going to go to Stuttgart anyway, I haven?t been on holiday for years so that was my top priority.?: Merckx is now heading for Egypt with his wife Claudine.

The declaration that Merckx cannot race contrasts sharply with Germany?s willingness to accept Erik Zabel?s participation in the World Championships.As for Alejandro Valverde, his controversial possible exclusion will be resolved later today in Switzerland.

Danilo Di Luca?s participation in the World Championships was looking complicated on Wednesday after his alleged implication in different anti-doping investigations was once more brought up in the Italian media. The 2007 Tour of Italy winner is still on the Italian start list, but may not finally race.

Meanwhile reigning World Champ. Paolo Bettini has insisted that he had signed the UCI?s anti-doping charter this summer - albeit with an extra document refusing to hand over a year?s salary in case of implication in a doping affair.

Bettini?s alleged refusal to sign the anti-doping charter, an accusation which emerged from the UCI on Tuesday, has caused yet another minor storm in the troubled build-up to the World Championships. However, Bettini at least is definitely heading for Stuttgart.


Bettini denies supplying drugs to Sinkewitz

Valverde can race at World Championships

Eddy Merckx not welcome at Worlds

Cooke out of Worlds, Brailsford names GB squad

British team get extra places for U23 Worlds

Boonen out of Worlds

Should Valverde ride the Worlds?


2007 Road World Championships preview

Elite Men Time Trial: full start list

Elite Women's Time Trial: Pooley takes eighth,

Under-23 Time Trial: Boom takes second world title in 2007

TV guide: World Champs on British Eurosport

TV guide: World Champs on BBC


Elite Women's Time Trial World Championships

Men's Under-23 Time Trial World Championships


World Champs 2006: Cancellara nets gold in TT

World Champs 2006: Cooke blasts to bronze in Salzburg


Official 2007 Road World Championships website:

Union Cycliste Internationale:

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