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Roseville Cyclist Kept Out Of Amgen

Neilson and Shayna Powless are both professional cyclists. Neilson raced at Amgen in 2016. Shayna raced in 2017.

 

Neilson Powless was selected Best Young Rider of last year's Amgen Tour and finished ninth overall. His Axeon Hagens Berman 23-and-under team finished second (out of 18) overall.

But, this year he's in street clothes and there isn't an Axeon Hagens Berman bike, rider, or touring van anywhere near the field.

Powless says World Tour and Pro Continental teams were invited, but Amgen Tour operator AEG did not invite his team because it's classified as a Continental team.

"Since we're a development team --we're just a bunch of young guys, kind of the young gun underdogs, at least in the last couple of years. Our team, because of our team title, we are no longer eligible."

Kristin Klein is President of the Amgen Tour and Executive Vice President of AEG Sports.

She says the Amgen Tour now falls under the International Cycling Union's (UCI) rules.

"If you look up the rules in the World Tour, we're not even allowed to extend invitations to any Continental teams. But, we were very fortunate to receive an exception from the UCI to extend two invitations for Continental teams and we feel very fortunate that we were able to provide that platform to those teams."

Those teams, Jelly Belly and Rally finished 12th and 16th respectively at Amgen last year.

So, why were invitations offered to them, but not Aexon Hagens Berman?

Klein doesn't say, but compares the selection process to how AEG picks different cities to host the tour each year.

"There are so many cities that we would love to go to, but we can't go to the same cities every year," she says. "So, there's so many fantastic teams out there and I have so much respect for all of these teams...but, we can't invite everybody."

Axel Merckx is Aexon Hagens Berman's General Manager. He says he doesn't know what the team could have done differently to be considered.

"They didn't tell me the basis of the decision," Merckx says. "We would have liked to have been there so these guys could showcase their talents there like they have the past five years."

The team says the financial effect on the team has been significant --the loss of team sponsors and about 80-percent of the media exposure the team receives in the average year.

Holo Wesko-Citadel, and Team Illuminate were the other Continental teams that raced last year, but were not invited in 2017.

Neilson Powless could change teams after August 1st. He was at Amgen this year to root for his older sister Shayna. She finished 43rd in the women's tour race.

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