Dwars door Vlaanderen have refused to issue a wildcard invitation to BMC Racing Team, choosing instead to take Xacobeo Galicia. Race organisers said that the American team was not sending any of its big-name riders to the event scheduled for March 24.
BMC rode the race last season, although none of its riders were amongst the 37 finishers. Marcus Burghardt, who rode for Columbia-HTC last year, finished 17th.
The organiser had hoped to see at least one of the team's top names for the Classics, such as former World champion Alessandro Ballan or George Hincapie in the Professional Continental team's line-up when its management asked for an invitation last fall.
“But we were greatly astonished when we got their list showing their selection for our race,” race director Guy Delesie told the Belga news agency. “Because there was not the name of any of their leaders.
“This would leave us with a 'third-rate' team. We consider that a lack of respect for our organisation. This is why we have decided not to allow them in Dwars door Vlaanderen.”
The invitation was instead given to Spanish team Xacobeo-Galicia. “We would rather have a motivated team at the start,” said Delesie.
The race will feature 12 ProTour teams, nine Professional Continental teams, and three Belgian Continental teams.
The teams for Dwars Door Vlaanderen are:
ProTour: Omega Pharma-Lotto, Quick Step, Francaise des Jeux, AG2R, Saxo Bank, Rabobank, HTC-Columbia, RadioShack, Milram, Katusha, Sky and Footon-Servetto
Professional Continental: Landbouwkrediet, Topsport Vlaanderen, Cervelo, Skil-Shimano, Vacansoleil, Cofidis, Bbox Bouygues Telecom, Acqua & Sapone, and Xacobeo-Galicia
Continental: An Post-Sean Kelly, Palmans-Cras, Verandas Willems