Pello Bilbao fumes after being told he will not be in Spain's Olympic team 30 minutes before Tour de France stage start

The Bahrain-Victorious rider is hoping to cement a top-10 in the Tour de France

Pello Bilbao
(Image credit: Getty)

Pello Bilbao, one of the most consistent and best-performing Spaniards in the past three seasons, has reacted angrily to the news that he will not be included in his country's squad at the Olympic Games.

The Bahrain-Victorious rider had built his entire season based on competing at the road race event in Tokyo, claiming that he had even taken it easier at the Giro d'Italia so not to tire himself out.

He was of the opinion that while his selection was not a guarantee, he was as good as on the plane to Japan, until the start of stage 15 of the Tour de France.

Despite sitting 11th overall in the race - and moving up a spot after yesterday's stage - he received a phone call from the Spanish coach Pascual Momparler 30 minutes before the racing began, informing him that he would not be going to the Olympics.

"I will not be at the Olympic Games. The coach told me 30 minutes before the start that I would not be going," he told a group of Spanish radio journalists

"It's late and it's bad. It doesn't sit well with me. I told him that I had the intention to go to Tokyo, I did the Giro with less intensity before I came to the Tour, but he did not want to count on me.

"I told him that the more I compete, the better I go. He has his reasons and I hope that he realises his error.

"In no moment did he tell me that I was outside of the team, although he told me he was putting me in the shortlist of seven."

Bilbao, who is aged 31, won a stage of the Tour of the Alps in the spring and finished second in the race overall.

Last autumn he finished 16th at the Tour de France and then rode to an unexpected fifth in the Giro d'Italia.

His performances in the past few years had made him an outside favourite for a medal in the Tokyo road race, but his non-selection means he will now have to focus on other priorities.