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Giro d'Italia 2008: team selection announced

Added: saturday 02 February 2008 at 23:58:00
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    Giro d'Italia 2008: team selection announced100 days before the start of the Giro d'Italia 2008 the organiser RCS Sport has announced the team selection for the Giro yesterday. From 1 November 2007 to 31 January 2008 34 teams have expressed their interest to participate and 21 of them have been invited to participate in this 91st edition which will be held from 10 May till 1 June.

    Since the Giro d'Italia is no longer part of the UCI ProTour, the organiser can now freely choose which teams can participate. Without giving any further details on the selection criteria, RCS Sport has caused some heated reactions among the teams which were not selected. Three of the 18 ProTour teams are not part of the selection and 7 teams outside the ProTour have been added to the selection to complete the list of teams.

    The teams below have been selected to participate; in this list the 7 teams which are not part of the ProTour are underlined:
    - AG2R-La Mondiale (France)
    - Barloworld (Great-Britain)
    - Caisse d'Epargne (Spain)
    - Cofidis (France)
    - CSF Group-Navigare (Ireland)
    - Diquigiovanni-Androni (Venezuela; I very much like the address of their website ;-)
    - Euskaltel-Euskadi (Spain)
    - Française des Jeux (France)
    - Gerolsteiner (Germany)
    - Lampre (Italy)
    - Liquigas (Italy)
    - LPR Brakes (Ireland)
    - NGC Medical-OTC (Switzerland)
    - Quick.Step-Innergetic (Belgium)
    - Rabobank (Netherlands)
    - Saunier Duval-Scott (Spain)
    - Silence-Lotto (Belgium)
    - Slipstream (United States)
    - Team CSC (Denmark)
    - Team Milram (Germany)
    - Tinkoff Credit System (Italiy)

    The four UCI ProTour teams which were not selected are Astana (Luxembourg), Bouygues Telecom (France), Crédit Agricole (France) and Team High Road (Germany).

    The reactions of the teams which were not selected

    Astana

    Astana: astonished

    Astana is a Kazakh team officially established in Luxembourg which has been completely renewed after the different doping problems the team had in 2007. In this team Johan Bruyneel has selected some of his old riders from the Discovery Channel team, like the Tour de France 2007 winner Alberto Contador and Levi Leipheimer, together with some of the riders which stayed from last year's Astana team. After all these changes and a very important anti-doping programme the team hoped to be able to participate in all cycling races in 2008.

    When the team heard they weren't selected for the Giro d'Italia 2008 at their training camp in Albuquerque in the US, the team's spokesman Philippe Maertens said: We really can't laugh about this. We are astonished. Johan Bruyneel is currently trying to contact Angelo Zomegnan, the race's director, to find out how they came to this decision. We don't see any logic in this exclusion since our team is perfectly OK on all aspects. I believe there's no single other team in which they have as many internal tests as we have.

    The Giro d'Italia director, Angelo Zomegnan, didn't keep Astana waiting for long for an answer to this question because in La Gazetta dello Sport (the newspaper behind the Giro) he said: Contador has always said he only thinks about the Tour de France and for Leipheimer the Giro would only have been a preparation for the Tour. If our race is not important in their programme, we don't invite them.

    Without mentioning all the problems this team has caused in 2007. Sure, the team has changed, there's a new management, but we'll have to see first. You cannot decide to start from scratch just by saying a new day has started
    .

    Since the Tour de France organiser also announced to have complete freedom in choosing the teams which will participate in the Tour de France 2008, Astana is not sure they can participate in the Tour de France either ... even though they have last year's winner in the team. Patrice Clerc said the organiser selects teams and does not select individual riders ... (meaning: it's not because last year's winner is in a specific team that this team will be invited)Bouygues Telecom

    Bouygues Telecom: not a disaster

    French team Bouygues Telecom's Jean-René Bernaudeau stayed calm: This decision is a surprise for us but it's definitely not a disaster. We will now adapt our programme. This means we have more races in which we can show ourselves.

    Crédit Agricole: sad and worried

    Crédit AgricoleFor the other French team which is not part of the selection, Crédit Agricole, team manager Roger Legeay said he's sad and above all worried: Today we're excluded. Tomorrow, for other races, other teams will be the victim of such an exclusion. The season will thus be quite chaotic. Can we participate in Milan-San Remo or in the Tirreno-Adriatico, I don't know. It's all very insecure. We will now have to adapt the programme of the riders who are the first victims of this decision.

    Since Crédit Agricole will stop sponsoring the team at the end of the season, Roger Legeay of course hoped to get some better news yesterday ...

    Other information from RCS' announcement

    The selection is not final and based on vague selection criteria ...

    The Giro's director underlined that the team selection is not final and that RCS keeps the right to withdraw the invitation of each team, each individual rider, staff and followers before the Giro.
    If they do that this will definitely cause some trouble because the teams and riders of course have to prepare themselves to be able to participate in a 3 weeks stage race!!

    Each team can send 9 riders to the Giro 2008; this means the total number of riders is 189.
    The selection criteria are a little vague or at least subjective: ethics, quality, the international aspect but also the existing connections with RCS Sport.
    Concerning the international aspect: in the Giro 2007 56 of the 198 riders (28,8%) were Italian; for the Giro 2008 the number of Italians is estimated at 55 out of 189 (29,1%). The country of origin or establishment or the sponsor of the selected teams makes the Giro cover 31 countries in 5 continents.

    Ethics

    Ethics have always been an important point in sports and even more in cycling with its high number of doping tests and the big number of detected doping cases in the last few years. Concerning ethics, RCS Sport has announced a certain number of action points:
    - promote a common anti-doping committee with WADA, UCI and CONI based on what has been done for the Olympic Winter Games in 2006 in Turin, especially with unannounced doping tests at night
    - study a system to protect the health of all riders who will participate in the Giro under the responsibility of one single doctor
    - take all necessary actions for a total transparence of the Giro d'Italia
    - keep the right to sue anyone who can damage the Giro d'Italia's image

    > Click here to see the track and stages of the Giro d'Italia 2008

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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    this article appears in the following categories: Giro d Italia| Cycling general (except Tour de France) | share on Facebook | delicious | twitter | Google | technorati

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