Team Type 1-Sanofi CEO Phil Southerland decried his team’s non-invitation to the Amgen Tour of California Monday night. Organizers left out the U.S.-based Pro Continental squad when they announced the 16 teams to compete in the seventh edition of the race.
“We are shocked and disappointed,” said Southerland in a team release. “So far this season we are the most successful Professional Continental team in the United States, with a deep race program that goes around the world. This upcoming weekend we are going to Milano-San Remo in Italy, next weekend the Criterium International in France, and later in the season we are already invited to more WorldTour events at Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Poland. And yet we weren’t invited to our own home country’s biggest event.”
A release by the team cited results such as Georg Preidler’s KOM jersey at the Tour du Haut Var and Aleksandr Serebryakov’s fifth-place ride at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne in its disappointment. Alexander Efimkin, winner of the 2011 Presidential Tour of Turkey, finished sixth in the Amgen Tour’s queen stage on Mount Baldy last year and 13th overall.
Four of the team’s 23 riders are American, including Kiel Reijnen, who will make his first start in Milan-San Remo Saturday, and Wil Dugan, who exited the 2011 Amgen Tour following a hard crash in stage 3.
Southerland, the rider-director-turned-CEO, has made no secret in recent years of his sporting and philanthropic interests outside of the U.S. In one interview with VeloNews, Southerland said he had “no interest” in competing in mid-level American races where media impressions are minimal when his mission is to improve lives of diabetics worldwide through sport. The Amgen Tour is the country’s top stage race, however, and Team Type 1 has been a fixture in the event since 2009.
“That we can’t go to California this year is a frustrating challenge that we want to overcome and put behind us,” Southerland said.