Team Sky has been invited to the 2010 Vuelta a Espana, having secured one of the Spanish Grand Tour’s wildcard places – but RadioShack has not been handed a place.

The British-based Sky squad was one of six teams handed a wildcard place at the Vuelta (August 28-September 19), joining Cervelo, Garmin-Transitions, Andalucia-Cajasur, Xacobeo Galicia and Katusha. Sixteen teams had already been assured of a place according to an agreement made two years ago between the Vuelta organisers and the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), bringing the total to 22 squads.

“It’s very, very pleasing to know that we’ll be taking part in the Vuelta this year – it’s great news for the team,” said Sky team principal David Brailsford.

“It’s terrific to be able to race in the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España in our debut season and that has always been a big aim for us.

“It’s been one of the hardest Vueltas to get into for a number of years and we never took anything for granted. The process started a little while ago and this news today is a real vote of confidence in the team and everything we are trying to do with it.

“We’ll have a really strong squad and the riders are all ready for it – we’re delighted to be given the opportunity to fly the Team Sky flag in such a significant event.”

No Vuelta for RadioShack
One name conspicuously missing from the 2010 Vuelta start list was RadioShack, the US-based squad created by seven-times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and his long-term manager Johan Bruyneel, who was furious at the decision to leave out the squad.

It’s the second Grand Tour of the season that RadioShack has missed – they were not invited to the Giro d’Italia in May having expressed no interest in contesting the race.

“I am not only surprised, I am speechless,” said RadioShack manager Johan Bruyneel via a press statement on Tuesday.

“At first I thought it was a mistake so I called organizer Javier Guillen for some explanation. He told me that the other teams offered him better options on a sporting level.

“I had to ask him to repeat it as I could not believe this but I heard right: we didn’t offer a good enough team. I cannot accept or understand this decision. With Levi Leipheimer, Andreas Kloden, Chris Horner and Jani Brajkovic we had four potential Vuelta winners on the roster we sent to Unipublic.

“Our 2010 Team goals were the Tour de France and the Tour of Spain. That’s why – together with the need to perform well in the Tour of California – we skipped the Tour of Italy this year.”

“In cycling there are three parties: UCI, organisers and teams/riders. Unlike in other professional sports, the teams and riders are the main actors who are never heard. I will fight for our rights and for other things that rightfully belong to us but we never get.

“There is an abuse of power. Some organisers take away the hunger of potential sponsors to invest in our sport. It is unjust that a new sponsor, coming into cycling with a lot of enthusiasm, is not rewarded for their financial input.

“For me it is hard to explain to my sponsor that 21 other teams are apparently better than us. Especially when it isn’t true. These actions are unfair to our sponsors as well as a blow to our fans.”

Both Team Sky and RadioShack are in their first year of competition.

Vuelta a Espana 2010: Team list
Ag2R La Mondiale
Andalucia-Cajasur
Astana
Bbox Bouygues Telecom
Caisse d’Epargne
Cervelo
Cofidis
Euskaltel-Euskadi
Footon-Servetto
Francaise des Jeux
Garmin-Transitions
HTC-Columbia
Katusha
Lampre-Farnese Vini
Liquigas-Doimo
Milram
Omega Pharma-Lotto
Quick Step
Rabobank
Saxo Bank
Team Sky
Xacobeo Galicia

Related links

2010 Vuelta a Espana route revealed

2010 Vuelta a Espana route desgned for the climbers

  • aiyaya

    “I’m not surprised. Radio Shack has hardly gotten any results this year. Team Sky on the other hand has had several noticeable victories.”

    ???????????????????

    name me those victories !!!

    RadioShack should definitely get the nod over team sky, especially since it’s planning to send a couple of 2010 race winners:

    Chris Horner – Winner of Basque Country
    Janez Brajkobiv РWinner of Dauphin̩ Lib̩r̩

    and team sky?? some stage wins, hasnt done crap all season

    definitely european bias toward this stronger american team

  • Dogbreath

    Is Bruyneel for real? Number one, the Landis allegations. Number two, the couldn’t be bothered attitude vis-a-vis the Giro d’Italia. Number three and in my view the most significant, any race USPS, Discovery, Astana as was and Radioshack race aggressively they ruin by the whole team riding tempo up the climbs. The Tour in 08 was vastly improved by Astana’s absence and I don’t think it’s coincidental that this years Giro was one of the best in living memory – partly parcours related but also ‘cos it was so open.

    Tell you what JB, if you don’t like it why don’t you concentrate on the tour of california. It’s apparently 2nd only to the TDF so you won’t be missing out on anything.

    Oh and are you going to take a photo of Guillen in case it comes in useful in the future…..

  • AJ

    All Radioshack will bring is a media scrum around an ‘aging and past his best’ Lance Armstrong. Maybe if the team leader looked like winning more races they may get an invite. If you snub the Giro – you can’t really cry foul if your not invited to the next party. JB needs to come down a peg or two.

  • Ken Evans

    Radioshack is a new team, most of its riders are not from Spain.

    Lance probably isn’t going to win many more races,
    it would have been easier for a lot of people (eg the UCI) if he had stayed retired.

  • Colin

    I’m not surprised. Radio Shack has hardly gotten any results this year. Team Sky on the other hand has had several noticeable victories.

  • Brian

    Tell us Mike, how many europeans teams competed at the Tour of California since its creation? The only ones who have an inferiority complex here are the Americans. I could not care less about RadioShack; this team, its management and its ‘stars’ are a disgrace for the Sport. We will at last be able to enjoy racing without all the nonsense buzz and aggressive arrogance surrounding LA & Co.
    LA and Bruyneel ruined the Giro last year. They almost succesfully managed to ruin Contador’s Tour. Enough is enough. The Spanish are right and have the right to favor Spanish teams.

  • mike

    Europeans and their inferiority complex continue to feel the need to stick it to Lance and an American team in the only way possible.

  • Simon

    I can’t think of any other way to express my feelings than ‘heh heh heh’. So, in Bruyneel’s world it’s ok for Radio Shack to pick-and-choose their races, but not ok for organisers to pick-and-choose their wildcards? Hmm. Johan: Be a gentleman, and take it with good grace. You need to win back fans, not alienate them further by criticizing the powers that be. What ‘right’ do you have to race at the Vuelta. Is this the same ‘right’ you had for the Giro but couldn’t be bothered to fulfil?

  • dave

    I see Bruyneel is unhappy and is mouthing off, maybe he should stop and consider all the Landis allegations whether true or not are going to be detrimental to radioshack’s position. I am cynical about Landi allegations but I’m sure there will be some truths however unpalatable lurking in them