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Report: Extra Giro d’Italia wildcard available after Arkéa-Samsic turns down spot

The French ProTeam is set to focus on the Tour de France and Vuelta a España as it seeks promotion to the WorldTour.

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Arkéa-Samsic has turned down its wildcard invitation to the Giro d’Italia.

According to French newspaper Ouest France, the ProTeam has decided to skip the Giro d’Italia to focus on the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España later in the season.

As the second-ranked team in the ProTeam rankings, Arkéa-Samsic was awarded automatic entry into all one-day WorldTour events. However, it was subsequently handed entries to all top-level stage races following the collapse of the Qhubeka-NextHash team in December.

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The French squad has its sights set on joining the WorldTour ranks in 2023 and is looking to rack up the points needed to secure a three-year license. According to Ouest France, the team is limiting itself to just two grand tours this season.

“Arkéa-Samsic’s deepest wish is to integrate into the WorldTour in 2023, for three seasons. To enter this elite, it is the results and points of the last three seasons that count. So, this year will still be very important, we will have to score points to maintain, for example, the advantage we have over Cofidis,” team manager Emmanuel Hubert told Ouest France in December.

“It’s going to be a complicated choice to make, it will be frustrating no doubt because you don’t deprive yourself of the most beautiful races in the world like that.”

The team’s decision may come as a disappointment to climber Warren Barguil, who had expressed his desire to ride the Giro d’Italia in 2022. However, it will come as welcome news to lower-ranked ProTeams as there is now an extra invitational spot to Italy’s biggest race.

Alpecin-Fenix is still set to take its automatic entry, as it did when it made its debut at the race in 2021. There will then be three more spots available with Bardiani CSF Faizane’, Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli, and Eolo-Kometa among the favorites to take them.