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by Dane Cash
January 17, 2020
Photography by Kristof Ramon
Giro d’Italia organizer RCS announced the wildcard invites for this year’s Giro d’Italia and a handful of other races on Thursday, confirming the participation of all three Italian ProTeams in their home Grand Tour this May.
Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, Bardiani-CSF, and Vini Zabù-KTM (previously known as Neri Sottoli) earned the three available bids to join the 19 WorldTour squads at the Giro d’Italia, which starts in Budapest, Hungary, on May 9.
The recent decision of Total-Direct Energie to turn down an automatic invite to the race paved the way for RCS to ensure that none of the three Italian squads would be left out this season.
Both Androni Giocattoli and Bardiani raced the Giro last year, but the then-Neri Sottoli team missed out in 2019 as organizers invited Israel Cycling Academy instead. The Nippo Vini Fantini team that secured an invite to the 2019 Giro d’Italia, winning a stage with Damiano Cima, has since folded, with team management saying last June that UCI reforms made it financially impossible for the team to continue.
The RCS’s Thursday announcement also included the list of invites for Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo, and Strade Bianche. Most notably, Mathieu van der Poel’s Alpecin-Fenix squad has earned bids to both Strade Bianche and Milano-Sanremo this year. The 24-year-old Dutchman has yet to make either start thus far in his young pro road career.