Australian climber Matthew Lloyd fired by Omega Pharma-Lotto
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Australian climber Matthew Lloyd fired by Omega Pharma-Lotto

by Ben Atkins at 1:00 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Belgian team cites unacceptable behaviour from last year’s Giro mountain king

matthew lloydThe Omega Pharma-Lotto team has decided to terminate the contract of Australian rider Matthew Lloyd after alleged “behaviour”, which was at odds with the “image of the team”. Lloyd, who won the mountains jersey at last year’s Giro d’Italia, as well as taking a stage victory, was due to start his season at last week’s Volta a Catalunya but withdrew shortly before the start.

"Our team's image cannot be connected to Matthew's behaviour any more," reads a statement from the team, "therefore the unanimous decision taken by the BCC board of directors. We follow a policy of zero tolerance of which we cannot divert."

Lloyd’s season was starting late due to two injuries sustained over the winter; he crashed in Melbourne, Australia shortly before Christmas, and was then hit by a car in Italy in February. He started the Vuelta al Pais Vasco the following week, but failed the start the final day’s time trial.

“I’m not going to try and smash everyone’s eye-balls in with different physical and mental reasons trying to justify why I didn’t race, but it wasn’t happening,” Lloyd commented about Catalunya on his personal website at the time; he then went on to look ahead to Pais Vasco.

The team’s release does not cite an official reason for the ending of Lloyd’s contract but, given the prevailing climate in the sport, is keen to stress that “it is not about the use of performance enhancing drugs.”

There was speculation earlier this year that Lloyd could be going to the new Australian GreenEdge team, and he has links to its general manager Shayne Bannan. The transfer season does not officially start for several more months and, while it remains to be seen if the Omega Pharma-Lotto decision was linked to this, any advance agreement between the two parties - if indeed one was made - would naturally be frowned upon by his current team.

It remains to be seen what he will do for the remainder of 2011 as he now no longer has a slot with a pro squad.


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