After skipping the Giro d’Italia, RadioShack will also be a spectator during the Vuelta a España.
The team was not included in the list of 22 squads invited to the 2010 Vuelta, set to start Aug. 28 in Sevilla. Sixteen teams were already selected, but RadioShack was not among the final six wild-card selections revealed Monday.
RadioShack manager Johan Bruyneel said he was “speechless” at the snub.
“I am not only surprised, I am speechless,” Bruyneel said in a team release. “At first, I thought it was a mistake and I called organizer Jaiver Guillén for some explanation. He told me that the other teams offered him better options on a sporting level … I cannot accept or understand this decision. With Levi Leipheimer, Andreas Kloden, Chris Horner and Jani Brajkovic, we had four potential Vuelta winners on the roster. Our team goals were the Tour de France and the Vuelta. That’s why — together with the need to perform well at the Tour of California – we skipped the Giro.”
Vuelta officials released the list Monday afternoon and word quickly spread that several top teams were not included. Other teams overlooked were BMC, Vacansoleil (which also missed the Giro and Tour), Skil-Shimano, ISD-Neri, Androni, Acqua e Sapone and Saur-Sojasun.
Getting invitations were Xacobeo-Galicia, Andalucía-CajaSur, Katusha, Team Sky, Cervélo TestTeam and Garmin-Transitions. The other 16 teams are ProTour teams included as part of an agreement between the UCI and race organizers made in 2008.
Bruyneel went on to criticize the selection process for major events. Here are his comments:
“Up until now it has never been accepted that a team manager stands on a soap box to defend the rights of the teams and the riders. We always have to accept; we don’t have many rights. After what I heard today, I take it as a personal mission: from now on I will fight for the interests of the cycling teams. It will be more than just a goal. I will work for it as hard as I’ve worked for my own team. It is really urgent that action be taken now as this is the time that the organizers will listen to the opinions of the teams. I will do everything that I can to bring all big teams to one level. What happened today is only a detail.
“In cycling there are three parties: UCI, organizers and teams/riders. Unlike in other professional sports, the teams and riders are the main actors who are never heard. I will fight for our rights and for other things that rightfully belong to us but we never get. There is an abuse of power. Some organizers take away the hunger of potential sponsors to invest in our sport. It is unjust that a new sponsor, coming into cycling with a lot of enthusiasm, is not rewarded for their financial input. For me it is hard to explain to my sponsor that 21 other teams are apparently better than us. Especially when it isn’t true. These actions are unfair to our sponsors as well as a blow to our fans. “
“It is high time for ‘professional’ cycling to become professional. The structure of our sport needs to change towards a model of other successful professional sports like soccer, tennis, Formula 1, etc. Today, this is happening to our team and sponsors, tomorrow it could be any other team. Even if some parties don’t like to see or hear this, I will do anything which is in my power to contribute to making this happen.”