New Australian cycling team Pegasus were denied a second-division licence for the 2011 season, leaving them with no chance of taking part in the top races, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said on Monday.
"On the basis of the file submitted to it within the established deadline....., the UCI Licence Commission today decided to refuse the registration of the Australian team Pegasus Sports as a UCI Professional Continental (second division) Team," the UCI said in a statement.
"This decision brings the registration procedure for 2011 to a close for first and second division. Therefore, there are 23 teams registered as UCI Professional Continental Teams for next season."
The team's future was thrown into doubt when their main unnamed sponsor withdrew shortly before the UCI's application deadline.
Pegasus, which has signed top sprinter Robbie McEwen of Australia, had already been denied a ProTour licence on sporting grounds, the UCI said.
The UCI's decision meant Pegasus will have no chance of taking part in the season's top races, starting with the Tour Down Under in January.
"50 people out of work. 25 riders without a team," McEwen, who has 12 Tour de France stage wins and three Tour green jerseys for the best sprinter to his name, to his name, wrote on his Twitter feed.