Cyclist Mark Cavendish's Olympic preparations have been dealt a blow by the news his High Road team has been left out of the Tour of Italy.
The three-week endurance tour in May was to form an important part of the Manxman's preparations for Beijing.
According to the director of the Giro several teams including High Road and Astana have not been invited based on four principal selection criteria: ethics, quality, internationality and long-term relationships with the organising company RCS.
The UCI, the world governing body of cycling, and organisers of major stage races such as the Tour of Italy, are in battle over selection for the Giro as both groups attempt to exert control.
Cavendish's road racing season begins on February 17th with the eight-stage Tour of California.