Tour de Yorkshire organisers Welcome to Yorkshire on Tuesday announced 18 teams for the April 28 to 30 men’s race, but Sir Bradley Wiggins’ eponymous outfit was not among them.
Five-time Olympic gold medallist and 2012 Tour de France winner Wiggins - who took part in the previous two editions of the Yorkshire race - no longer rides for the team, which was established to develop young British talent, following his retirement in December.
The ongoing UK Anti-doping investigation into allegations of wrongdoing in cycling could be seen as a distraction.
The UKAD investigation centres on whether anti-doping rules were broken by Team Sky or Wiggins on the last day of the Criterium du Dauphine race in June 2011.
Team Sky, Wiggins and Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford deny wrongdoing over the contents of a mystery package.
Simon Cope, who appeared before parliament earlier this month to answer questions about the package he couriered from Manchester, is now Team Wiggins sports director.
Cope 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 (general classification), all things going well.
“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.”
A Welcome to Yorkshire spokesperson said: “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 the men’s race. 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.”