Gianni Savio: “I’m not sure Androni Giocattoli will get invitations to the Tour and Vuelta”
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gianni Savio: “I’m not sure Androni Giocattoli will get invitations to the Tour and Vuelta”

by Ben Atkins at 1:45 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a España
 
Italian ProContinental team has qualified for all three Grand Tours by 2008 agreement, but manager is not sure it will happen

michele scarponiMichele Scarponi’s second place in Saturday’s Giro di Lombardia saw the Androni Giocattoli team finish the season in 17th place in the International Cycling Union (UCI) rankings. According to the agreement made in 2008 between the UCI and the organisers of the three Grand Tours, this position gives the Italian Professional Continental team an automatic ticket to the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and the Vuelta a España next year.

Team manager Gianni Savio is not confident that this will happen though, according to biciciclismo.com.

“I don’t know exactly,” said Savio. “As was said at the World Championships, the UCI Congress decided to change the rules of procedure. At the moment it’s not certain that 17th place in the World rankings means participation in the Giro, Tour and Vuelta.”

The team is a regular fixture in the Giro d’Italia, and most of the other major Italian races, due to its position as one of the biggest Italian non-ProTour teams. An appearance at either the Tour or the Vuelta would be a first for the team though, which may not happen due to the UCI’s recent announcement of the World Tour.

There have been rumours of a disagreement with these new regulations though, so Savio’s team may yet have its day.

“We won the Italian championship for teams and thanks to an agreement between the Italain Federation (FCI) and [Giro organiser RCS Sport] have the right to be invited to the Giro,” he said. “The others [the Tour and Vuelta], I don’t know anything about. I only know that in this world the rules of the day can change tomorrow.”

Despite meeting the pre-existing qualification criteria though, Savio feels that the new rules will be applied and mean that his team will likely miss out.

“My feeling is that the first 17 in the World rankings won’t participate in all three Grand Tours,” he conceded, “but it will be the 18 Protour teams plus four invitees. It would be good news for us to ride the Tour and Vuelta, but if not there will be no polemics on my part.”

With a 16-rider squad for 2011, Androni Giocatolli does likely not have the resources to ride all three Grand Tours; if he had advance knowledge of race invitations though, Savio feels he could make the necessary expansions.

“I’ve done everything to put together the Androni Giocattoli team for next season with a programme of races similar to this year,” he explained. “If the UCI and organisers confirm to me that I have the right to participate in the Tour and Vuelta, I’ll have a letter up my sleeve to get more economic resources with a second sponsor and add five or six riders.

“Fortunately I’ve had the support of my sponsors for many years. My jersey looks like a newspaper but I’ve been going for 27 consecutive years; I don’t have the danger of losing the team if I get dropped by one or two sponsors.”

Ironically though, Scarponi, the rider whose results played the biggest part in earning the team’s elevated position, is departing for Lampre-ISD in 2011 and is taking the teams second ranked rider Leonardo Bertagnolli with him. The team is filling the gaps left by a number of rider departures with Angel Vicioso from Andalucia-Cajasur and Emanuele Sella from Carmiooro-NGC.

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