(Reuters) - Katusha, the team that world number one Joaquim Rodriguez of Spain rides for, have hit out at the International Cycling Union (UCI) for dropping them from the sport's top flight.
On Monday, the UCI announced Katusha's application for World Tour status in 2013 had been rejected but gave no explanation as to why the Russian team ranked second in this year's standings were not granted an automatic spot for next season's leading races.
"At the present moment Katusha has no information regarding the reasons for the decision of the UCI," the team said in a statement on Tuesday.
"Team management, riders and staff are extremely surprised by the lack of justification for such a decision."
The UCI told Reuters the move was made by the independent licence commission which makes its decisions on sporting, ethical, administrative and financial grounds.
"The UCI violates the canons of sports ethics and causes irreparable moral and psychological harm to the athletes before the start of the new season," added Katusha.
The decision by the UCI means the Russian team will need invitations to take part in the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia, the Tour of Spain and several top one-day and one-week races in 2013.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; editing by Tony Jimenez)