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Israel Cycling Academy invited to Giro d'Italia as Direct Energie miss out

Joe Robinson
25 Jan 2019

Four wildcard teams for Giro d'Italia confirmed as home teams favoured

RCS has confirmed the wildcard teams invited to the 2019 Giro d'Italia, with organisers falling in favour of home ProContinental teams and the Israel Cycling Academy for a second consecutive year.

The Israeli team will be joined by Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, Bardiani-CSF and Nippo-Vini Fantini, as the four teams chosen to ride alongside the 18 WorldTour teams at the Italian Grand Tour in May.

Israel Cycling Academy makes the cut for a second year. In 2018 the race departed from Israel which all but guaranteed their invite into the race, especially with the financial support provided by team backer Israeli-Candian billionaire Sylvan Adams for the race. 

However, this year the race has returned home to Italy but the organiser still decided to extend the invite to the team. This could have also been helped along by the signing of Italian riders Davide Cimolai and Riccardo Minali in the winter.

Gianni Savio's Androni team were guaranteed entry thanks to securing the Ciclismo Cup in 2018, a competition that provides an automatic wildcard to the most successful Italian ProContinental team at the Giro for the following season. 

Italian-Japanese team Nippo-Vini receive their first invite to the Giro since the 2016 season while Bardiani-CSF is rewarded for their attacking presence at last year's race with yet another invite.

The two losers from this are Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM and French team Direct Energie. 

Formerly known as Wilier Triestina, the Neri Sottoli team will be the only Italian ProContinental team absent at the Giro despite bolstering their roster in the off-season with Giovanni Visconti and Dayer Quintana, brother of former race winner Nairo.

Direct Energie also miss out although are unlikely to be too upset considering they have already been invited to the Tour de France and will also get the chance to ride Milan-San Remo in March. The French team last participated at the Giro in 2014, albeit under former sponsor Europcar 

The announcement of the wildcards comes later than was first expected with rumours suggesting RCS had waited until ASO announced the wildcard places at the Tour until making its final decision. 

This will be the last year in which RCS is afforded the decision of all four wildcard invitations. As of 2020, UCI reforms will dictate that the two best ProContinental teams will be mandatory invites with only the final two being at the discretion of he race organiser.

The 2019 Giro d'Italia begins in Bologna on Saturday 2nd May.

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