When the organisers of the Dauphiné Libéré announced the route of this year's stage race on Friday last week, they also presented the participating teams: all of the ProTour teams had been selected, with the exception of team Unibet.com, snubbed by French race organisers this year because of the legal situation of its sponsor.
After Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Roubaix, it is thus the fourth race that the team will not be able to compete in although it paid a very expensive license to the UCI, which promised just that. Directeur sportif Hilaire Van der Schueren found the situation hopeless. "Will we thus also get turned down for the Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastigne-Liège and the Tour?," he said when asked for a comment by Sportwereld. "I don't have any illusions anymore."
Team director Jacques Hanegraaf also has had enough of it. "This cannot go on. I expect action from the UCI," he said.
Dauphiné Libéré organiser Thierry Cazeneuve, by the way, did not invite any other Pro Continental squads even though the peloton will 'only' count 19 teams. French team Agritubel, for example, did not get invited, either. "I'm a legalist," explained Cazeneuve to L'Equipe. "Several riders were seen cheating last year [holding onto team cars - ed.] - that's how they thanked me."