Robbie McEwen has been removed from the Australian road team to race in the world championships in Australia in October, according to the Monday edition of The Australian newspaper.
McEwen, ranked 44th on the last UCI world rankings and the winner of 12 stages of the Tour de France, said he was told of his axing by the chairman of selectors Shayne Bannan at the Eneco Tour stage finish in the Dutch city of Roermond on Saturday.
“I’m absolutely gutted and really, really disappointed,” McEwen told the paper from the Netherlands.
McEwen won the first stage of the Eneco Tour in the Netherlands last week.
“The selectors felt that the road course between Melbourne and Geelong (in Victoria) was just too tough for me, but I don’t agree.
“I’ve ridden over it and believe I could have been managed it and been competitive.
“Like everyone else I’m just shocked that I’ve been axed. I truly believe I’ve done enough here at the Eneco (Tour) to have warranted a start.
“At least Bannan was man enough to have told me to my face of me not being in the team.”
Bannan declined to give his reasons to the newspaper for the selectors’ decision to leave McEwen off the nine-man team to be announced this week.
“Out of respect for Robbie and what he’s accomplished for Australian cycling, I’ll give my reasons only after the team is officially announced on Tuesday,” Bannan told The Australian.
McEwen had already saved the selectors the trouble, by announcing his omission on Twitter.
“I won’t be at worlds in Geelong,” McEwen wrote. “Not selected. Don’t know who the nine are, but know I’m not. Yes I’m disappointed. Thought I’d be good there.”
McEwen, 38, is a triple winner of the Tour de France’s green sprinters’ jersey and has also won 12 stages of the Giro d’Italia.
The UCI road world championships from September 29 to October 3 will be staged for the first time in the southern hemisphere.