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Giro d'Italia rejects plan for fifth wildcard team

Joseph Delves
31 Jan 2017

The Italian squads had been hoping to find a way into their home Grand Tour after failing to secure wildcard entry.

RCS Sport, who organise the Giro d’Italia, have squashed Androni Giocattoli–Sidermec and Nippo-Vini Fantini’s hopes of being allowed to send a joint squad to contest the Italian Grand Tour.

Having missed out on wildcard entry to their home race, the two Italian teams had appealed to the race organisers to find more space for their riders.

Each Grand Tour gives out four wild card entry places to UCI Pro-Continental teams allowing them to compete alongside the 18 UCI WorldTour squads which are mandated to send a team.

For these smaller teams the exposure on the world stage provided by competing in bigger races is key to their continued ability to attract sponsors.

At this year’s Giro d'Italia two of the four slots were awarded to the Polish squad CCC Sprandi Polkowice and the Russian registered Gazprom-Rusvelo.

Despite Italian teams Bardiani-CSF and Wilier-Selle Italia being invited, Androni-Sidermec and Nippo-Vini Fantini were aggrieved to have missed out on wildcard places.

Their respective managers had called on the race organisers to take the extraordinary step of allowing a fifth wildcard team to be made up of a joint contingent from both squads.

However, Giro organiser Mauro Vengi rejected their appeal and warned national teams against building their entire business model around assuming they’ll secure wildcard entry to the race.

Although the likelihood of the teams gaining backdoor entry to the Giro was always remote, his response will provide little comfort to the two teams who may well now find themselves in a precarious position with regards to their continued funding.

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