High Road, Astana, two French ProTour teams and the squad of former winner Stefano Garzelli won’t be going to the 2008 Giro d’Italia, the organizers of the season’s first grand tour announced Friday.
In a surprise move that could foreshadow possible selections to July’s Tour de France, officials from Giro organizer RCS announced 21 teams that will be at the May 10 start of the 2008 Giro. As VeloNews reported earlier, Slipstream-Chipotle is among the select teams.
The decision by Giro race director Angelo Zomegnan to exclude High Road comes as a surprise after the team enjoyed a dramatic run in the pink jersey last year by renowned clean rider Marco Pinotti as part of the T-Mobile lineup.
Astana, which is undergoing major changes with the arrival of former Discovery Channel sport director Johan Bruyneel, saw its third-place finisher Eddy Mazzoleni from last year dealt a two-year ban for links to the alleged “Oil for Drugs” doping scandal.
Others left out include the Crédit Agricole team of Pietro Caucchioli, third in 2002, and Bouygues Telecom. Also missing is 2000 winner Garzelli’s Acqua e Sapone team.
Among the invites are 14 ProTour teams as well as seven continental teams.
Beleaguered 2007 champ Danilo Di Luca, who was handed down a three-month ban for his alleged links to the doctor at the center of the “Oil for Drugs” scandal, will be allowed to defend his title, as his new LPR team was among those invited.
Also in are Barloworld, Tinkoff and Diquigiovanni, the new squad of two-time champion Gilberto Simoni. Team CSF Group (former Panaria) and NGC Medical, a small Italian-run team, also are in.
All riders will be required to present a biological passport to enter the race. Organizers said they retained the right to withdraw invitations “at any moment” and the selection criteria included “ethics, quality, internationalism and relationship history with (organizer) RCS Sport.”
RCS said they used the following criteria to make their decisions: ethics, quality, the international interest of their respective teams and long-term relationships with race organizing company RCS.
Teams for the 2008 Giro d’Italia:
Caisse d’Epargne (Sp)
Francaise des Jeux (F)
Quick Step (B)
Saunier Duval (Sp)
CSF Group (Irl)
NGC Medical (Swi)