Team RadioShack won’t be going to the Giro d’Italia this year — but that was the team’s choice rather than a snub by organizers RCS Sport, says Johan Bruyneel.
Writing on his blog, Bruyneel confirmed that RadioShack would not be racing the Giro, adding, “but the truth is that we communicated this to the Giro organizers, RCS. I like the Giro, I think it’s a great race, but to be quite honest, we are putting all our focus on the Amgen Tour of California.”
Bruyneel said the weeklong American stage race holds more value to its sponsors and thus is key to his U.S.-registered team.
“Of course, you also have to factor in that we have the three-time Amgen Tour of California champion (Levi Leipheimer) and I think it’s fair to say that every cyclist and team want to be in the best possible position to defend that title,” he added.
Bruyneel said he told RCS some months ago that the Giro did not fit within RadioShack’s objectives and plans.
“If anything, I think this showed respect to RCS and the Giro in that they could put in a team that had specific race objectives,” Bruyneel said. “But RCS did not like this news and instead decided that Team RadioShack would not be invited to Tirreno-Adriatico. Hopefully we will not be ‘punished’ for future RCS races. They have a great organization and we enjoy participating in many of the races they put on.”
But Lance Armstrong didn’t enjoy every minute of his participation in the 2009 Giro. He took part in a controversial rider protest that neutralized Stage 9, a circuit in Milan that was peppered with parked cars, tram tracks, traffic islands, dividers, cones and oncoming traffic, and afterward played hard to get with the press after the Italian media was critical of the uprising and portrayed him as the ringleader.
Despite the absence of RadioShack, the Giro will not lack for top-notch talent. BMC will toe the start line on May 8 in Amsterdam, with world champion Cadel Evans. Also slated to race are 2008 Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam), three-time Milan-San Remo winner Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky).
Teams for the 2010 Giro d’Italia, May 8-30
Acqua & Sapone
Bouygues Telecom Bbox
Cofidis-Le Crédit en Ligne
Still waiting to hear whether they will be included are Carmiooro-NGC, Flamini, ISD-Blacks, De Rosa-Stac Plastic, Skil-Shimano and Vacansoleil. The deadline for changes to the list is May 3.
Click here for John Wilcockson’s analysis of the 2010 Giro route.