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by Shane Stokes
January 18, 2016
Photography by Cor Vos
The customary sight of the Androni-Giocattoli team hunting stage wins in the Giro d’Italia will be missing this season, with the squad being passed over for selection for the race.
Giro organisers RCS Sport announced its wildcards for the race on Monday, naming the four wildcard teams that will join the 18 WorldTour squads in the event.
Italian squads Bardiani CSF, Nippo – Vini Fantini and Southeast – Venezuela have been given the nod, as has the Russian squad Gazprom – Rusvelo.
Androni has been a regular participant in the race since 2008, with repeated victories in the Coppa Italia (Italian Cup) helping secure those invites, but Southeast – Venezuela won that contest in 2015.
Gianni Savio’s team has been given the consolation of invites to Tirreno – Adriatico and Milan – San Remo.
It will join Bardiani CSF, Bora Argon 18 (Germany), Caja Rural – Seguros RGA (Spain) and Poland’s CCC Sprandi Polkowice in the WorldTour event, which runs from March 9 – 15.
It will also ride Milan – San Remo on March 19, with a total of 7 wildcard slots handed out for that event.
Also participating will be Bardiani CSF, Bora Argon 18, CCC Sprandi Polkowice, Cofidis, Southeast – Venezuela and Team Novo Nordisk.
RCS Sport Head of Cycling Mario Vegni acknowledged that selecting Italian teams as three out of the four available Giro wildcards was deliberate.
“Following the philosophy we adopted in the last few years, we wanted to once again safeguard Italian cycling, while at the same time keeping a very close eye on all the other requests coming from all over the world,” he stated.
“In this year’s selections, in particular those for the Giro d’Italia, we wanted to give space to our national movement, but that doesn’t need to be the only factor that we are obliged to consider.
“The international development of all our races remains one of the cornerstones of our strategy and guided us in the final choice of the wild cards.”
RCS Sport added that it will announce wildcards for Il Lombardia later in the year.