Wiggins will be the only British UCI Continental team not on the startline at the April 28-30 race, with JLT-Condor, One Pro Cycling, Bike Channel-Canyon, Raleigh-GAC and Madison-Genesis the five third-tier teams selected.
Simon Cope, the team’s sports director, told Cycling Weekly. “It’s very disappointing and it is very much a surprise. I don’t really know why. It’s a very strange one.
“I do feel that with the riders we have got, we would have been a top-10 contender in the GC, all things going well
“Scott Davies was 12th on GC in 2015 [when racing for a Great Britain composite squad] and he’s two years older, two years wiser so he could get a top-10 there.
“Out of the six British Conti teams, and bearing in mind we are a development team, we are the second best British team in the [UCI Europe Tour team] rankings behind One Pro.
“We have the current national U23 time trial champion [Davies] and the European team and individual pursuit champion [French rider Corentin Ermenault]. It’s a massive surprise.”
In the previous two editions, only five Continental teams have been granted inclusion in the race, and last year it was Pedal Heaven who were forced to sit out, a decision that, like this one, sparked controversy.
Cope says that the inclusion of other teams puts pressure on them to prove that the decision the right. Nonetheless, they will seek races in mainland Europe to fill the gap in the calendar.
“We’re in front of Raleigh, Bike Channel and Madison in the UCI rankings. I’m not going to worry but those teams have to live up to the selection.
“Good or bad press at the moment, there’s a percentage of the UK population who will be going to the race who want to see Wiggins there.
“You would have thought that we would have got in, but the organisers have made their selection and that’s it, we can’t do anything about it. We will have to go and find another bike race to do.
“We turned down races in that period because of the Tour de Yorkshire so there’s a big window opening now, but we’ll take a look at the UCI calendar and see if we can get something to substitute it with. It’s getting late in the day now, so I’m not sure what race that will be, but we’ll try and find something.”
A Welcome to Yorkshire spokesperson said: “Quite simply, we had 49 teams apply for the 36 men’s and women’s places on offer.
“Six British Continental teams applied for the five slots available for those. Unfortunately, someone had to miss out and this time it was Team Wiggins.
“We have a good relationship with them, though, and they are welcome to apply for any future editions of the race.”