Robbie McEwen has described the feeling of being left out of Australia’s worlds squad as Cycling Australia’s selectors prepare to announce its final nine for the Geelong, Australia event today. McEwen blew the lid off the announcement on Saturday when he revealed via Twitter he had been informed of his non-selection, narrowing the list of remaining contenders to 14.
"I am disappointed at missing a once-in-a-lifetime event like this when my form is good and still improving. I am disappointed with what I feel is a lack of faith in me and respect for my ability,'' McEwen told The Sydney Morning Herald.
The snub by selectors hasn’t diminished McEwen’s desire to represent Australia however, with the rider already turning his focus to next year’s UCI World Road Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark. While out of contract at season’s end, McEwen is currently in negotiations to complete one more, likely final, year as a professional cyclist.
"I'm absolutely gutted and really, really disappointed," McEwen told The Australian. "The selectors felt that the road course between Melbourne and Geelong was just too tough for me, but I don't agree. I've ridden over it and believe I could have been managed it and been competitive.”
The course in Geelong has been a topic of much discussion since it was first launched. It was originally touted as a sprinter’s course for the likes of McEwen and Mark Cavendish, however examination of the climb on the closing circuit has many – including former world champion Paolo Bettini – convinced such riders won’t be in the mix.
Compounding McEwen’s disappointment was the fact he won an Eneco Tour stage last week, one of his biggest victories since a serious knee injury ruined his 2009 season.
"Like everyone else I'm just shocked that I've been axed. I truly believe I've done enough here at the Eneco to have warranted a start,” McEwen said. "At least [Shayne] Bannan was man enough to have told me to my face of me not being in the team."
Cycling Australia is expected to announce its roster for the worlds at 1600 AEST. After the early announcement of McEwen’s non-selection, nine of the following 14 riders will be named in the squad: Baden Cooke, Allan Davis, Cadel Evans, Simon Gerrans, Matthew Goss, Adam Hansen, Heinrich Haussler, Mathew Hayman, Stuart O'Grady, Richie Porte, Mark Renshaw, Michael Rogers, Wesley Sulzberger and Chris Sutton.
The national body will also name its long list for the women’s team today.