Johan Bruyneel is fuming at Unipublic’s decision not to invite Team Radioshack to the Vuelta a Espana. And he’s got a point. Here’s the UCI rankings for the top-25 teams in the world:
(click to enlarge)
Note that Radioshack sits in eighth place. Use the alternative Cycling Quotient Team Rankings and the team is in fifth place. Far from a one man band arranged around Lance Armstrong’s ego, this team has other riders on its roster capable of livening up the tour of Spain. Brajkovic for example.
Note the likes of Team Sky sit much lower on the rankings and lacking both a sprinter and a GC contender – Wiggins is committed to riding his home Tour of Britain – it remains to be seen how much the British squad can liven up the race.
We might as well rant
It’s worth noting Bruyneel’s reaction, he’s been quoted as both “furious” and “speechless“. But this was always possible, an existing agreement means that his team would not get an automatic invite, hopefully he made it clear to his backers that this was the case.
An upset Bruyneel said “I take it as a personal mission: from now on I will fight for the interests of the cycling teams” yet before his high horse gets any further, let’s remind ourselves that this was the man who tore up the ProTour agreement with his move to sign Ivan Basso (the rules said a doping cheat could not come back into the ProTour). There are plenty of other instances when Bruyneel has divided teams, for example he was an instigator of the race radio protest at the Tour last year. It’s only when he loses out that he pretends to act interests of the little guy.