Team manager Patrick Lefevere has hit out at the UCI after the sport's governing body has ruled that the Etixx-iHNed Continental team and the Omega Pharma-Quick Step WorldTour team cannot compete in the same races.
Lefevere created the Etixx-IHNed Continental team after calls from the UCI for major teams to help develop young talent. He signed 12 riders from across Europe and invested a reported 500,000 Euro in the project. However the team was apparently stopped from riding Sunday's Classic Sud Ardèche race in France because of UCI rules aimed at stopping teams owned or funded by the same sponsor from possibly working together in races.
A similar rule also stops the EFC-Omega Pharma-Quick Step Under 23 team from competing in races with the WorldTour team. Professional Continental and Continental teams with the same sponsor are also affected. Seven other WorldTour teams and their development teams area affected by the rule.
Lefevere vented his anger via Twitter: "Only the #uci is able to destroy the hope of young riders No #OPQS with #etixxihned in the same races even worse," he wrote.
"No #efc and #etixxihned in the same race. Why should we still invest ? 1 500 000 euro investment lost with 1 simple E mail. Great communication"
Cyclingnews understands that the UCI has recently warned race organisers and race commissaries about inviting teams with the same paying agent or sponsor. A letter from new UCI Road Co-ordinator Matthew Knight shown to Cyclingnews by a race organiser lists the WorldTour teams, the Continental and the development teams they also back.
Eight WorldTour teams support Continental teams but they are not permitted to race together.
Astana Pro Team – Continental Team Astana
Blanco Pro Cycling - Rabobank Development Team
BMC Racing Team – BMC Development Team
Garmin-Sharp – La Pomme Marseille
Lampre-Merida – Joker-Merida
Omega Pharma-Quick Step - Etixx-Ihned
RadioShack Leopard - Leopard Trek Continental Team
Argos-Shimano – Shimano Racing Team
Team Saxo-Tinkoff - Blue Water Cycling.
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