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Feb 7, 2016 – Tour of Qatar organizers have blocked multiple winners Etixx from competing in this year’s race starting Monday citing “disciplinary problems” with the Belgian team.
“I’ve decided not to send them an invitation despite their wish to participate,” Qatar Cycling Federation president Sheikh Khalid Bin Ali Al Thani told a press conference in Doha on Sunday.
“On several occasions the team has displayed disciplinary problems,” he explained. “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.”
The sheikh accused the team of “lacking respect”. Etixx have dominated the Tour of Qatar, with Tom Boonen winning four editions (2006, 2008, 2009, 2012) and Niki Terpstra successful in 2014 and 2015.
A total of 18 teams will line up for the 2016 race which finishes on Friday.