"Tinkoff will skip the Worlds TTT because the cost of the event will be borne by the team and the cost-benefit evaluation doesn't justify such an expense," team communications director Pierre Orphanidis confirmed to Cyclingnews in an email on Thursday.
Just 10 WorldTour teams are expected to compete in the event after the UCI lifted its mandate that made participation compulsory. A threatened boycott by all 18 WorldTour teams was averted earlier this month when the UCI and the Association Internationale des Groupes Cyclistes Professionels (AIGCP) negotiated a compromise that addressed many of the teams' concerns, including having to bear the full brunt of expenses.
The UCI agreed to offer each of the teams around €2,000 to help fund their trip to the Middle East, addressing the AIGCP's principal concern that, unlike other WorldTour races, teams have to participate entirely at their own expense.
The lack of WorldTour points for the event was also a concern. In the past, 200 points had been available for the WorldTour team classification, but this year - crucially for the teams looking for the final few WorldTour points - there will be none available.
"Acknowledging teams' concerns raised by the AIGCP, the UCI has opted for a non-compulsory format for UCI WorldTeams," the sports governing body announced as part of its negotiations with the riders' union. "As a result, no UCI WorldTour points will be awarded, bringing the Men's Team Time Trial event in line with the rest of the UCI Road World Championship events. It was also agreed that the model of the event shall be revised for future editions in collaboration with the AIGCP."
Tinkoff team director Tristin Hoffman told Het Nieuwsblad a number of factors drive the team's decision.
"There are no points to pick up pick up, it costs lots of money to travel to Qatar with all the material, staff, riders and so on," he said. "Moreover, the race is at the end of the season. The latter is probably the most decisive. There are no prizes to win at the world championship.
"On the one hand it is of course very unfortunate because a team time trial is a great discipline," Hoffman told Het Nieuwsblad. "But I understand the whole thing. This decision was taken from above."
Tinkoff had a rough go if it in last year's team time trial world championship in Richmond, Virginia, when a crash took down several riders. The team finished last among the 27 competitors, more than eight minutes behind winners BMC Racing.
WorldTour teams expected to compete in the team time trial include BMC Racing, AG2R La Mondiale, Astana, Etixx-Quick Step, Movistar, Orica-BikeExchange, Giant-Alpecin, Katusha, LottoNL-Jumbo and Team Sky.
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