Angelo Zomegnan wants the 2011 Giro d’Italia to be bigger than ever and it will be, at least this year.
The Giro peloton will be bulging with the announcement that five wild-card teams will join 18 ProTeam squads at the start line in Torino. The UCI gave the Giro an exemption to go over the 200-rider limit, giving Zomegnan the chance to invite five extra teams — instead of the traditional four.
That means that 23 squads with nine riders each for a total of 207 riders will start the corsa rosa in its special celebration of 150 years of Italian unification.
All five wild-card teams had strong Italian connections, with the bids going to Acqua e Sapone, Androni Giocattoli, Colnago-CSF, Farnese Vini and Geox-TMC.
Overlooked were teams such as Team Type 1, which was holding out it might earn a Giro invitation. But Vacansoleil was included, in compliance with UCI WorldTour rules. Although an agreement between the UCI and the grand tours requires all World Tour teams be invited, even the UCI has said it was re-examining Vacansoleil’s eligibility in light of the doping scandal involving team member Riccardo Ricco, and there was speculation that Zomegnan might leave the team out.
The race announced the roster in a press release Monday:
Sixty days from the start of the 94th Giro d’Italia (May 7 to May 29, 2011); RCS Sport is required, in compliance with the UCI (Unione Ciclistica Internazionale)Regulation, to supply a complete list of the teams which have been invited to take part to the event.
Consequently, the following 18 teams belonging to the UCI ProTeam category having the right and the duty to participate, will line up on the starting line, i.e.
- AG2R La Mondiale (Fra)
- BMC Racing Team (Usa)
- Euskaltel-Euskadi (Spa)
- HTC-Highroad (Usa)
- Katusha Team (Rus)
- Lampre-ISD (Ita)
- Leopard-Trek (Lus)
- Liquigas-Cannondale (Ita)
- Movistar Team (Spa)
- Omega Pharma-Lotto (Bel)
- Pro Team Astana (Kaz)
- QuickStep Cycling Team (Bel)
- Rabobank Cycling Team (Ola)
- Saxo Bank-Sungard (Dan)
- Sky Pro Cycling (GB)
- Team Garmin-Cervelo (Usa)
- Team RadioShack (Usa)
- Vacansoleil-DCM (Ola)
Moreover, an exceptional derogation having been granted by the UCI, allowing to outnumber the limit of 200 riders on the start line in Turin, in order to celebrate in a noteworthy way the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy by lining up national athletes and teams, the 18 UCI ProTeam will be joined by the following 5 teams belonging to the UCI Professional Continental category:
- Acqua & Sapone (Ita)
- Androni Giocattoli (Ita)
- Colnago-CSF (Ita)
- Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli (GB)
- Geox-TMC (Spa)
Each one of the 23 teams will be allowed to align 9 athletes for a total amount of 207 competitors at the start. All the mentioned teams are recorded in the Biological Passport Program and are kindly requested to supply within the deadline of April 7, 2011, the list of the 12 riders among which the participants to the Giro d’Italia will be selected.
RCS Sport-La Gazzetta dello Sport wish to express their gratitude to the UCI for granting the derogation to outnumber the limit of 200 competitors, and are available to cooperate with the international organization as regards safety and also to investigate into the pending cases regarding the fight against doping, as far as both teams and athletes are concerned.