Giro d’Italia: Successful wildcard teams pay tribute to RCS Sport’s confidence in them
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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Giro d’Italia: Successful wildcard teams pay tribute to RCS Sport’s confidence in them

by Ben Atkins at 1:40 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
Bardiani-CSF Inox and Vini Fantini-Selle Italia return, while Team Colombia makes its Corsa Rosa debut

giro dRCS Sport’s announcement of the three teams to have been awarded the final wildcard invitations to May’s Giro d’Italia produced few surprises. Unlike in 2012, when the race organiser shocked a number of people by inviting German Team NetApp, the three teams chosen are either Italian, or have strong Italian connections.

Bardiani-CSF Inox and Vini Fantini-Selle Italia both rode the race in 2012 - as Colnago-CSF Inox and Farnese Vini-Selle Italia respectively - while Team Colombia has received an invitation in only its second year of existence.

According to a picture posted on Twitter by Stefano Diciatteo, media relations at RCS Sport, showing the organisation’s Wild Card Cycling Commission, Vini Fantini-Selle Italia received the maximum of five votes, and was the only team to do so. Team Colombia received four votes, and Bardiani-CSF Inox received three; unsuccessful applicants NetApp-Endura and Katusha - both of whom rode in 2012 - received two and one votes respectively.

None of the other five teams that had applied for a Giro wildcard - Caja Rural, Europcar, IAM Cycling, Novo Nordisk, and Sojasun - received any votes in the commission.

Unanimous thumbs up for Vini Fantini-Selle Italia

matteo rabottiniA successful application to what will, once again, be the biggest race of the year for the giallo-flou team of Vini Fantini-Selle Italia is hardly surprising, since it won two stages in 2012; one of which was one of the moments of the race, as Matteo Rabottini won on the Pian dei Resinelli, and also went on to take the mountains jersey.

“Being voted by all the five members of the commission fills us with pride,” explained Angelo Citracca, team manager of Vini Fantini-Selle Italia, “because this means that we are going the right way. We have worked hard as regard image, quality of the team, marketing and competitive engagements. The unanimous invitation to Giro d'Italia and the formalisation of the invitations in all the other races in the program, now enables us to focus on our seasonal goals, coinciding exactly with RCS Sport races.

“Indeed we plan to make a good Tirreno, to ride Sanremo as protagonists and to ride the Giro d'Italia at the same level of 2012.”

Of the ten applicants for Giro d’Italia wildcards, Vini Fantini-Selle Italia was the only one to have been invited to all of RCS Sport’s WorldTour races. This, thinks directeur sportif Luca Scinto, is a reward for the team’s philosophy and style of racing.

"We were training with the whole team when we learned of the RCS decision,” he said. “What can I say? Now it's our turn; we must attack and ride to win and conquer their great races. I believe this, I’ve always said that this is the best team I've ever had among the pros; now I want to prove it.”

Team Colombia set to make its Grand Tour debut as the only foreign wildcard

johan esteban chavesSecond only to Vini Fantini-Selle Italia, Team Colombia got the nod from four out of the five members of the wildcard commission, and will start May’s race as the only non-Italian Professional Continental team. Although all the riders hail from Colombia, however, the team’s management is predominantly Italian, with 1977 World champion Claudio Corti serving as general manager.

In addition to any negotiating that Corti may have been able to do with his compatriots though, it is the potential excitement a team of motivated Colombians could bring to the race - just as one did in the 1980’s.

“This invitation is a crucial step in our project’s path, so I can’t be anything but happy that our team has managed to win a Giro d’Italia spot in just its second season in the pro ranks,” said Corti. “In our first year, I think we showed everyone in cycling the real value of our riders and organisation, and we feel ready to improve further: we got a huge bunch of people all over the World who can’t wait to see us in action at the Giro, and we certainly will not disappoint them.”
“We have got the riders and the attitude to perform in a demanding Giro d’Italia, and we will be looking to bring what everybody expects from us: we have a group of exciting grimpeurs and an “Inspired by Climbing” attitude, and we definitely will not back down when the road points up.”

Directeur sportif Valerio Tebaldi echoed Corti’s sentiments, as he prepares to guide the South American team in its debut three-week race.

“It feels great to be part of the return of a Colombian team on the Grand Tours stage,’ Tebaldi said. “Our team left its mark on races with its quality and personality in 2012, and we now get the chance to give our fans what they have been waiting for so long. We worked very hard for a year, but our efforts paid dividends: Team Colombia managed to win the respect and the affection of people from all over the World, and this invitation marks a huge moment for us.”

Bardiani-CSF Inox just holds off NetApp-Endura to continue its near-perfect attendance record

domenico pozzovivoJust scraping in, with three votes to Endura-NetApp’s two, is Bardiani-CSF Inox. Roberto Reverberi’s team has been an almost constant fixture at the Giro d’Italia since its inception in 1982, only missing out on the 2009 race after triple 2008 stage winner and mountains jersey Emanuele Sella tested positive for EPO shortly after the race. Despite losing its top rider, 2012 Lago Laceno stage winner - and eighth overall - Domenico Pozzivivo (pictured) to AG2R La Mondiale, the team’s all-Italian roster has clearly appealed to RCS Sport’s patriotism.

“We thank RCS Sport because this proves that it believes in us; giving us the opportunity to be at the start of these important races, which are strategic for our sponsors,” said Reverberi. “Both the Giro d’Italia and the Milano-Sanremo must be sees as a starting point for our team for future growth.

“We are focusing only on young athletes, who we feel will be winners in the future, and the development of their talent shows in events like these. Beside the purely sporting side, we started working on our marketing and communication area and I’m pleased that RCS Sport has noticed this major improvement. Here too we are only at the beginning but we hope to grow and, through these very important races, give more visibility to our sponsors, and increase the link with cycling fans. Now it is up to all of us to prove worthy of these wild cards and make our presence memorable.”


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