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by Shane Stokes
January 19, 2016
Photography by Fabio Ferrari/La Presse
One day after the Giro d’Italia organisers overlooked his team for a race wildcard, Gianni Savio has said that there is a chance the Androni – Giacattoli squad might stop.
“I have always been accustomed to respond to adversity, but this is a very hard blow for the future of our team,” he said on Tuesday.
“I think I have made a miracle to save our team after the failure of [former sponsor] Venezuela, who has yet to honour the contract of 2014. I have to thank the sponsors who have helped me in this endeavour.
“We have set up a team looking forward to the Giro and we thought to deserve the wild card for the commitment, enthusiasm and determination that we have always shown in our participation in the Giro, for the spectacle that we have always offered and for the love that people have always demonstrated for us.”
On Monday Giro organiser RCS Sport said that Italian squads Bardiani CSF, Nippo – Vini Fantini and Southeast – Venezuela had been given the nod, as had the Russian squad Gazprom – Rusvelo.
Savio’s team had ridden the race each year since 2008 and been an aggressive animator. It has never been a WorldTour setup, but was given wildcard invites each year. Those invites were generally assured through the team’s victories in the Coppa Italia series of races, which guarantee an automatic wildcard to the race.
However Southeast – Venezuela won that contest in 2015. This meant that Androni Giocattoli had no guarantees of a Giro place.
The team received the consolation of invites to Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan – Sanremo, but Savio said that the team’s absence from the Giro could threaten its future.
“In such a situation, there are two options: the closing of the team after the current season, or a new start. I am a fighter, I never surrender so, even in this circumstance, I will not give up.
“In the coming months I will make a round of consultations with the sponsors and, on the occasion of the Giro, will let know if the season will end with a farewell party where the twentieth anniversary of the team will be celebrated, or if I can realize a new project.”
He said that whatever the decision ultimately would be, he wanted to thank the fans.