Race winner Renaud Dion (Bretagne - Schuller) is congratulated by team manager Joel Blevin.
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Joël Blévin takes responsibility for "failure"
The failure to secure an invitation to the Tour de France has led the Bretagne Schuller team's president, Joël Blévin, to resign.
The team was almost four years into the partnership with automotive sponsor Michel Schuller, having moved from Continental status to the UCI's Professional Continental ranks in 2011 with an aim at participating in all five French races on the UCI's WorldTour calendar.
While it was included in Paris-Nice, Paris-Roubaix and the GP Plouay in 2011, the Critérium du Dauphiné and Tour de France still eluded the ambitious squad.
This year, the alarm bells rang for the team when it failed to gain an invitation to Paris-Nice, and last week's non-invitation to the Tour de France was a blow for Blévin. The four wild cards for the 2012 Tour de France went to the Dutch team Argos-Shimano and French teams Europcar, Cofidis and Saur Sojasun.
"We thought with our athletes' good results this season we would achieve a wild card ... Unfortunately it was not so. I take responsibility for this failure, and therefore I present my resignation," Blévin wrote in a letter to the team's directors (Bretagne Cyclisme) and Breizh Vélo.
The cycling association's executive board called upon Blévin to continue to manage the team's daily affairs until the end of June, when it can pull together a new strategy "based on future decisions and commitments from its partners and sponsors".
"The Management agrees to make contact quickly with its partners to attempt to ensure the continuity of the team in the coming years," it stated in a letter..
Armand Megret, the president of Breizh Vélo, an advocacy group in the Brittany region, said he "deeply regrets this unfortunately understandable decision."
"Bretagne Cyclisme, through the Bretagne-Schuller team, has demonstrated its ability to create and manage a professional cycling team of a high level, rising to the ambitions of the Brittany Region, a historic land of cycling.
"Breizh Vélo would like to thank Joël Blevin for his exceptional commitment."