Bardiani-CSF pick young, diverse team for Giro d'Italia

Italian wildcard team prepared to contest sprints, climbs and to make the breakaways

Bardiani-CSF have announced their roster for the upcoming Giro d'Italia, with the Italian Pro Continental team choosing a young, diverse squad to compete in the sprints, mountains and breakaways over the three weeks of racing that start in Jerusalem on May 4 and end in Rome on May 27.

Directors Roberto Reverberi and Stefano Zanatta will take an eight-rider team featuring Andrea Guardini and Paolo Simion for fast finishes; Giulio Ciccone and Manuel Senni for the climbs; and Simone Andreetta, Enrico Barbin, Mirco Maestri and Alessandro Tonelli for the attacks and breakaways.

"We're confident this team lives up to the prestige of the race," Zanatta said in a statement released with the team announcement. "From Jerusalem to Rome, everyone has the task to honor the race and their jersey.

"The characteristics of the route and the riders' form have been the key factors at the base of our decision," Zanatta said. "Every stage is tough and tricky. To be competitive, we selected a young line-up, with average age of 25.5, but at the same time experienced."

Last year, the squad was hit by a doping scandal on the eve of the opening stage of the Giro after Nicola Ruffoni, 27, and Stefano Pirazzi, 31, were each found positive for Growth Hormone-Releasing Peptides (GHRPs) in out-of-competition controls taken in the weeks before the start of the Italian Grand Tour.

The team started the race with seven riders from a then-nine-rider roster, with manager Bruno Reverberi quick to sack the two riders and deny involvement in the team in the doping activities. Both riders were banned for four years.

This season, the team have been stacking up the results as the Giro d'Italia approaches. Ciccone won the Giro dell'Appennino on Sunday, and both Tonelli and Simion won stages last week at the Tour of Croatia, where Simion and Maestri took the top two stage finishes on the final day. Guardini started his season with stage wins at the Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia, and Maestri took a stage win and the overall at the International Tour of Rhodes in Greece in March.

"The path to the Giro has been really brilliant, especially in the last races at Tour of the Alps, Giro dell'Appennino and Tour of Croatia," Reverberi said. "We're really satisfied for the results achieved by the guys so far, and a lot of them deserved a call for the Giro.

"We've always had clear ideas about the type of team we need for this Giro," Reverberi continued. "For us, every stage is a good chance to stand out, to attack and to catch the win. The target of the GreenTeam are the stages, and to hit it we'll need the work of the entire team, beside the exploits of the single rider. Commitment and team spirit will be our watchwords."

Bardiani-CSF for the Giro d'Italia: Simone Andreetta, Enrico Barbin, Giulio Ciccone, Andrea Guardini, Mirco Maestri, Manuel Senni, Paolo Simion, Alessandro Tonelli

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