Giro d’Italia organizer RCS Sport named the four wildcard teams invited to compete in this year’s race on Thursday.
Three of the choices — Androni Giocattoli, Bardiani-CSF, and Colombia — are not much of a surprise, but the fourth squad selected, Yellow Fluo, is already creating a stir.
Yellow Fluo was born out of the Vini Fantini-Selle Italia team, which lost its main sponsors when two of its riders — Danilo Di Luca and Mauro Santambrogio — tested positive for banned substances at last year’s Giro.
Aside from Colombia, the teams are all based in Italy. That played a role in which squads were selected, RCS Sport said in a press release. All four teams compete at the Pro Continental level.
“The choices made, especially for the wild cards of the Giro d’Italia, were dictated by the opportunity — at this moment in history — to support the Italian cycling movement, without ever losing sight of the goal of international development,” said the release, which also outlined which teams will compete at Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo, and Il Lombardia..
Yellow Fluo was selected over other teams such as IAM Cycling, a Swiss outfit, and African squad MTN-Qhubeka.
“I am of course really disappointed, we put a huge amount of effort into our bid document and really wanted the chance after proving our worth in races in 2013,” MTN sport director Doug Ryder told VeloNews. “I am a firm believer of if one door closes another opens so we will stay focused and continue to work hard. Our riders know that their sporting success in the world tour will inspire more cyclists in Africa to get involved in the sport and that keeps us motivated.”
MTN’s Gerald Ciolek won Milano-Sanremo last year, and the squad will compete in that race and Tirreno-Adriatico this season.
2014 Giro d’Italia teams
Ag2r La Mondiale (FRA)
Androni Giocattoli (ITA)
BMC Racing (USA)
Omega Pharma-Quick Step (BEL)
Trek Factory Racing (USA)
Yellow Fluo (ITA)