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Colombia miss out on a Giro d'Italia invitation as the Italian teams again get preference

Photo: RCS Sport

ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI

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BARDIANI CSF FAIZANE

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BORA-HANSGROHE

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CCC DEVELOPMENT TEAM

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DIRECT ENERGIE

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GIRO D'ITALIA

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NTT PRO CYCLING TEAM

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TEAM NOVO NORDISK

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UNITEDHEALTHCARE PRO CYCLING

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VINI ZABU KTM

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19.01.2015 @ 14:31 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Today organizers RCS Sport have announced the wild cards for their main races, most notably the Giro d’Italia, and they had a big surprise for the cycling fans. While four of the five spots were taken by Italian teams Bardiani, Androni, Southeast and Nippo-Vini Fantini, the final spot was taken by the Polish CCC Sprandi Polkowice team.

 

In recent years, RCS Sport have announced the wild cards for the Giro d’Italia in January to give teams a lot of time to prepare for the event. This year is no exception and today they team revealed the identity of the 5 teams that will line up in the Italian grand tour alongside the 17 WorldTour teams.

 

Race director Mauro Vegni had already indicated that four of the five spots would be taken by the four Italian pro continental teams and they have all secured a spot for the Italian grand tour. Bardiani, Androni and Southeast (formerly Neri Sottoli) will all be back in the event after their participation in 2014, with the latter team earning their spot by winning the Coppa Italia teams classification.

 

As expected, the fourth spot was taken by the Nippo-Vini Fantini team which has stepped up to pro continental level and reinforced its roster by the signing of Damiano Cunego. The Italian hopes to reinvigorate his career at the Italian race which was the scene of his big breakthrough in 2014.

 

Only one spot was left for a foreign team and it was a big surprise that Polish CCC Sprandi Polokowice got the nod. Having signed riders like Stefan Schumacher, Grega Bole and Sylwester Szmyd, the Poles have reinforced their roster significantly and can also count on veteran Davide Rebellin for their grand tour debut. The team has long indicated their desire to ride a grand tour as they aim at stepping up to WorldTour level in the future.

 

The big losers are Colombia who failed to get a wildcard for the third year in a row. Wanty-Groupe Gobert, UnitedHealthCare and Team Europcar had all applied for an invitation too but they all have to find an alternative race schedule in May.

 

RCS also announced the wild cards for their other major races and Colombia can console themselves with the fact that they will be at the start of Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-Sanremo and Il Lombardia. Bardiani got the nod for all three races too while Androni will be present in both classics. Southeast and Nippo Vini Fantini only made it into Il Lombardia while CCC will also be at the start of the two one-day races.

 

German team Bora-Argon 18 earned invitations for all three races while MTN-Qhubeka will be at the start of Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-Sanremo with their many big name sprinters. The final team to be at the start of Tirreno-Adriatico is Team Europcar whose loss of the WorldTour license seems to have had disastrous consequences, with the Frenchmen failing to receive invitations for the Giro and the two Italian monuments.

 

Unsurprisingly, Nacer Bouhanni’s Cofidis team got the nod for Milan-Sanremo while UnitedHeathCare made it into Il Lombardia. Finally, Team Novo Nordisk will make their WorldTour debut when they line up in Milan-Sanremo.

 

Mauro Vegni, RCS Sport Head of Cycling, commented: “As per every previous year, we reflected deeply on the wild card choices; an increasingly meticulous process thanks to the quality of the teams that want to participate in our races. I would like to thanks, on behalf of RCS Sport, all the teams that have advanced their candidacy. This year’s choices, especially for the wild cards of the Giro d'Italia, were dictated by the opportunity to support the Italian cycling movement, giving continuity to an overall process without ever losing sight of the goal of international development in strategic territories”.

 

Here is the list of the teams that will participate in the four races:
 
UCI WORLDTEAMS – 17 (eligible)
AG2R LA MONDIALE (FRA)
ASTANA PRO TEAM (KAZ)
BMC RACING TEAM (USA)
ETIXX – QUICK STEP (BEL)
FDJ (FRA)
IAM CYCLING (SUI)
LAMPRE – MERIDA (ITA)
LOTTO SOUDAL (BEL)
MOVISTAR TEAM (ESP)
ORICA GREENEDGE (AUS)
TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN (USA)
TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN (GER)
TEAM KATUSHA (RUS)
TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO (NED)
TEAM SKY (GBR)
TINKOFF – SAXO (RUS)
TREK FACTORY RACING (USA)
 
UCI PROFESSIONAL CONTINENTAL TEAMS (wild cards)
 
GIRO D’ITALIA (9 - 31 May) – 5 wild cards (22 teams of 9 riders each)
ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI (ITA)
BARDIANI CSF (ITA)
CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE (POL)
NIPPO – VINI FANTINI (ITA)
SOUTHEAST PRO CYCLING TEAM (ITA) – the right was acquired for winning the Italian Cup

TIRRENO – ADRIATICO (11-17 March) – 5 wild cards (22 teams of 8 riders each)
BARDIANI CSF (ITA)
BORA – ARGON 18 (GER)
COLOMBIA (COL)
MTN – QHUBEKA (RSA)
TEAM EUROPCAR (FRA)

MILANO – SANREMO (22 March) – 8 wild cards (25 teams of 8 riders each)
ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI (ITA)
BARDIANI CSF (ITA)
BORA – ARGON 18 (GER)
CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE (POL)
COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS (FRA)
COLOMBIA (COL)
MTN – QHUBEKA (RSA)
TEAM NOVO NORDISK (USA)
 
IL LOMBARDIA (4 October) – 8 wild cards (25 teams of 8 riders each)
ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI (ITA)
BARDIANI CSF (ITA)
BORA – ARGON 18 (GER)
CCC SPRANDI POLKOWICE (POL)
COLOMBIA (COL)
NIPPO – VINI FANTINI (ITA)
SOUTHEAST PRO CYCLING TEAM (ITA)
UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM (USA)

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