Qatar bans top cycling team due to “lack of respect”

Country’s cycling federation has disinvited Etixx-Quick-Step from this year’s Tour of Qatar
Qatar bans top cycling team due to “lack of respect”
Overall leader Niki Terpstra of The Netherlands and Etixx - Quick-Step rides in the peloton during stage six of the 2015 Tour of Qatar. (Getty Images)
By Staff writer
Mon 08 Feb 2016 11:56 AM

The Qatar Cycling Federation has disinvited the world’s top cycling team from the country’s five-day Tour of Qatar, accusing Etixx-Quick-Step of “lacking respect”.

According to the Business Insider website, which quoted news agency AFP, the federation said that the Belgian team’s riders took too long to change clothes after races. It also said that team members took too long to conduct interviews and arrived late for podium ceremonies.

In a press conference ahead of the event on Sunday, federation president Sheikh Khalid Bin Ali Al Thani said that the team were “lacking respect” and that he had decided not to send them an invitation for this year’s Tour.

"On several occasions the team has displayed disciplinary problems," Sheikh Khalid told the press conference, according to AFP. "For example, they take too long to change and give interviews even though they are expected on live television, and they take too long to reach the podium."

Sheikh Khalid also accused team members of being disrespectful to one of the federation’s female employees in a previous race, VeloNews reported.

Etixx-Quick-Step is currently the world’s number-one ranked team, and its riders have won the Tour of Qatar in six out of the last 10 years.

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