Giro d’Italia director Mauro Vegni has confirmed that the wildcard invitations to the 2019 edition of the race will be announced next week. In recent weeks, RCS Sport has been assessing the application dossiers submitted by Pro Continental squads.
"We haven’t stopped, not even during the holidays, and we’re getting closer to our final decision,” Vegni told Tuttobiciweb. “Our aim is to announce our choices for the Giro d’Italia, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo next week, between January 14 and 20. They won’t be easy decisions, because there are a lot of candidates."
One of the four wildcards for the Giro d’Italia is already known, as Gianni Savio’s Androni-Sidermec squad has earned its selection for the corsa rosa by finishing the 2018 campaign atop the season-long Ciclismo Cup [formerly Coppa Italia – ed.] standings.
Three other Italian Pro Continental squads are among the contenders for the remaining Giro berths – Bardiani-CSF, Nippo-Vini Fantini and Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM, who raced as Wilier-Selle Italia in 2018.
Androni, Bardiani and Wilier all received wildcard invitations to the 2018 Giro, together with Israel Cycling Academy, who have once again signalled their interested in competing. The Israeli squad signed Italian riders Davide Cimolai and Riccardo Minali during the off-season.
Direct Energie are also among the applicants for this year’s Giro. The French squad’s last participation in the race came as Europcar in 2014, their most recent season at WorldTour level.
The 2019 season marks the final year in which RCS Sport can independently decide on all four of its wildcards. With no Italian team in the WorldTour, the Giro organiser has tended to favour the home nation with its wildcards: in recent seasons, at least three of the four invitations have been handed to Italian teams.
In 2020, the planned reforms to the WorldTour mean that the two of the wildcard berths will be automatically awarded to the best two Pro Continental teams. The other two invitations will remain at the discretion of RCS Sport.
The 2019 Giro gets underway in Bologna on May 11 and finishes in Verona on June 2.