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World champion Mario Cipollini will not ride in the Tour de France after race director Jean-Marie Leblanc on Monday upheld his decision not to accept the Domina Vacanze team.
“To accept a 23rd team in the Tour de France would go against the rule book of professional cycling,” Tour organizers said in a statement.
“After a deep examination of the situation, it appears it would hamper the security of the race and the quality of the organization to allow another team in.”
Cipollini’s Domina Vacanze team declined to comment.
Tour organizers last month handed their last four wild cards to three French teams, Brioches La Boulangere, AG2r Prevoyance and Jean Delatour, as well as Basque team Euskaltel.
The decision was made at the expense of Cipollini’s outfit. The world champion broke the record of stage wins in the Giro d’Italia last month and asked Leblanc to reconsider his position.
“Jean-Marie Leblanc makes me want to vomit,” said Cipollini last month on the Giro when he heard that his team had not been retained by Tour organizers.
A few days later, Super Mario pulled out of the Giro in San Dona di Piave after a bad crash and wrote to Leblanc asking him for a second chance.
Cipollini won 12 stages on the Tour and briefly held the overall leader’s yellow jersey in 1993 and 1999, the last year he took part in the world’s biggest cycling race.
The Italian sprinter, who never finished any of the seven Tours he entered, crashed a few days before the beginning of the 2000 Tour and was unable to start.
In 2001, his Saeco outfit was not retained because of its poor International Cycling Union (UCI) ranking.
Last year, his Acqua e Sapone team was not accepted either, prompting the Tuscany rider to announce his retirement from the sport.
He eventually changed his mind and went on to win the world championship.