Team RadioShack is the most prominent absentee from the list of 22 teams that will line up in Seville for the start of the 75th Vuelta a España on August 28.
The American squad did not feature among the six teams invited by Vuelta organizers Unipublic to join the 16 squads that had been pre-selected under a 2008 agreement between organisers and the UCI.
The six teams that have received invitations are Andalucía-Cajasur, Xacobeo-Galicia, Cervélo TestTeam, Team Sky, Katusha and Garmin-Transitions.
It was always likely that the two Spanish Professional Continental teams would receive invites to their national Tour. The race starts in Andalucía-Cajasur’s home region, while Xacobeo have one of the leading contenders for the Vuelta’s new leader’s red jersey in Ezequiel Mosquera, who was fifth last year and fourth in 2008.
Carlos Sastre’s Cervélo TestTeam was also expected to get an invite given the Spaniard’s past record in his home Tour and their two stage wins last year. Three stage wins and a strong line-up in 2009 look to have secured Garmin-Transitions’ place, while Katusha are likely to be led by another potential Spanish winner in Joaquín Rodríguez.
The competition for places may well have left Team Sky, RadioShack and BMC as rivals for the final place, with the new British team getting the invitation.
RadioShack did not ride this year’s Giro d’Italia but wanted a place in the Vuelta.
“We really wanted to ride the Vuelta but we weren’t invited,” RadioShack team spokesman Philippe Maertens told Cyclingnews from the Tour de Suisse.
“The organisers said we didn’t have a strong team on a sporting level, that other teams are better. That’s strange because we wanted to send a very strong roster.”
Maertens refused to name riders who were scheduled for the RadioShack Vuelta roster but Critérium du Dauphiné winner Janez Brajkovic and possibly Levi Leipheimer were likely to be in the team. Lance Armstrong was not expected to ride.
“We will issue a statement on the subject later today,” Maertens added.
The six invited teams are: Andalucia – Cajasur, Cervélo TestTeam, Garmin – Transitions, Sky Professional Cycling Team, Team Katusha and Xacobeo Galicia.