Italian national champion Filippo Simeoni has returned his red, green and white jersey to the national federation in protest over his squad's Giro d'Italia snub. Ceramica Flaminia was left out of the Giro d'Italia lineup after event organiser RCS Sport announced last week the Fuji-Servetto squad - which was asked to leave last year's Tour de France due to doping violations - would be awarded the final spot.
"It is unacceptable that the Italian champion cannot compete in the biggest event in his country," Simeoni told reporters on Monday.
Ceramica Flaminia team manager Roberto Marrone appealed to International Cycling Union (UCI) president Pat McQuaid over his team's exclusion from the Giro at the weekend. Marrone complained in a letter to McQuaid that selection to the Grand Tours and other important races are supposed to be by regulation, "based on pure merit and ethical sport".
"It is unacceptable that, despite being among the top 10 teams in the ranking of Europe Continental Tour and [having] received the Wild Card Label, our team is systematically excluded from most major competitions for the benefit of other teams that will not be more competitive than us," he said.