RCS Sport invites 23 teams to 2011 Giro d’Italia
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Monday, March 07, 2011

RCS Sport invites 23 teams to 2011 Giro d’Italia

by Ben Atkins at 9:33 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Five wildcards all awarded to Italian teams

ivan bassoThe list of teams invited to this year’s Giro d’Italia has been announced by race organiser RCS Sport, with 60 days to go until the race starts in the Piemonte city of Torino (Turin). As a race in the International Cycling Union (UCI) WorldTour, the 18 first division ProTeams are automatically invited; RCS Sport has elected to award five wildcards to Professional Continental teams, making a total of 23 teams in all.

With the usual nine riders per team for a Grand Tour the peloton at the race start will number 207 riders, just over the UCI maximum limit of 200. Because the Giro is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy though, the race has received special dispensation from the UCI to do so.

As the Tour de France has already done, the Giro has awarded the wildcards to its local teams, with three out of the five going to Italian teams. Acqua & Sapone, Androni Giocattoli and Colnago-CSF have been given the nod, as well as the Italian-sponsored, British registered Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli squad and the Italian-backed, Spanish registered Geox-TMC.

Those who might consider themselves unlucky to miss out include the American Team Type 1, whose rider Jure Kocjan finished fourth in Saturday’s Montepaschi Strade Bianche. VeloNation contacted the team but it declined to comment on its non-selection, simply stating that it would go “full gas instead” at the Tour of California.

The wildcard awards mean that a number of riders, who have shone in past Giri but ride outside the WorldTour, will be able to ride. Those names include 2000 race winner Stafano Garzelli of Acqua & Sapone, Italian champion Giovanni Visconti at Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli, and multiple stage winners and climbing sensations Emanuele Sella, Jose Serpa and Jose Rujano at Androni Giocattoli.

There will also be a sigh of relief at Geox-TMC, the team of Carlos Sastre and Denis Menchov. The team, which was turned down for ProTeam status this year has already been passed over for a number of big races, including most of those organised by RCS Sport, and the Tour de France.

The selection of the five teams, which are either Italian or strongly connected to Italy, has potential implications for other Professional Continental teams. With the Tour de France wildcards all going to French teams, and the Vuelta a España likely to favour the Spanish, it leaves little hope for second division teams that are not from one of the three Grand Tour nations getting an invitation to one of the sport’s big showpieces.

Teams invited to 2011 Giro d’Italia:

18 ProTeams automatically invited:
AG2R La Mondiale (Fra)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Euskaltel-Euskadi (Spa)
HTC-Highroad (USA)
Katusha Team (Rus)
Lampre-ISD (Ita)
Leopard-Trek (Lux)
Liquigas-Cannondale (Ita)
Movistar Team (Spa)
Omega Pharma-Lotto (Bel)
Pro Team Astana (Kaz)
QuickStep Cycling Team (Bel)
Rabobank Cycling Team (Ned)
Saxo Bank-Sungard (Den)
Sky Pro Cycling (GBr)
Team Garmin-Cervelo (USA)
Team RadioShack (USA)
Vacansoleil-DCM (Ned)

5 Professional Continental Teams awarded wildcards:
Acqua & Sapone (Ita)
Androni Giocattoli (Ita)
Colnago-CSF (Ita)
Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli (GBr)
Geox-TMC (Spa)

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