Giro announces wildcard selections, Androni and Arkéa left out
The RCS has announced its team selection the 2021 edition of the Giro d’Italia, confirming which second-division teams have received wildcard bids and which have missed out.
Bardiani CSF Faizanè, Eolo-Kometa, and Vini Zabù received the three available wildcard bids to race the Giro alongside the 19 WorldTour squads and Alpecin-Fenix, which receives an automatic invite after topping the rankings for ProTeams last year.
This year’s race will mark Eolo-Kometa’s first ever appearance at a Grand Tour. The squad run by Ivan Basso, Alberto Contador, and Fran Contador made the jump up to the second division for this season. Bardiani CSF Faizanè has been at every Giro since 2009, while Vini Zabù has raced all but the 2010 and 2019 editions of the event since the team was founded in 2009.
A recent UCI decision to increase the count of participating teams at the Grand Tours from 22 to 23 meant that there would be three available wildcard spots at the Giro. Even with the increase, however, there were still more teams hoping for selection than there were spots, and in naming which three teams would be making the Giro start this year, the announcement from the RCS also confirmed those that would be missing out.
For the first time since 2017, Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec won’t be at the Giro d’Italia, and neither will Arkéa-Samsic, despite Nairo Quintana’s interest in returning to the race that he won back in 2014.
Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec manager Gianni Savio expressed frustration with the non-selection in an interview in Italian newspaper la Repubblica. Savio was particularly critical of the decision to invite Vini Zabù – which saw one of its riders test positive for banned substances during last year’s Giro – ahead of his team.
“I can’t explain it, I don’t find a logic in all this,” Savio told la Repubblica. “If they had invited Quintana’s Arkea I would have been able to understand, nothing to say. The Zabù, on the other hand, no, I don’t like it. With everything they’ve done lately.”
The RCS also announced the teams selected to start three of its other races in Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, and Milano-San Remo.
As the second-ranked ProTeam in 2020, Arkéa-Samsic will receive an automatic invite to join the WorldTour squads and Alpecin-Fenix at Strade Bianche and Milano-San Remo. Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, Bardiani CSF Faizanè, Eolo Kometa, and Vini Zabù also received invites to Strade Bianche. Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, Eolo Kometa, Gazprom-Rusvelo, Arkéa-Samsic, and Total-Direct Energie comprise the available ProTeam spots at Tirreno-Adriatico. Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, Bardiani CSF Faizanè, Novo Nordisk, and Total-Direct Energie received the wild card invites for Milano-San Remo.