By Gregor Brown
Team Barloworld's Claudio Corti is hopeful of a place in the 2009 Giro d'Italia for his team despite missing organiser RCS Sport's initial selection yesterday.
"It was not a pleasure for me to be left out of the Giro. However, there are still spots for two or three teams, and I think in the end we will be included," Corti said to Cyclingnews.
RCS Sport announced 20 teams for the 94th edition of its three-week stage race, May 9 to 31. Angelo Zomegnan, director of cycling at RCS Sport, said that there are space for up to 22 teams, or 198 rides.
The Barloworld team, licenced in Great Britain and based in Italy, took part in the 2008 edition. Corti does not think that his team's poor performance last year was a factor in the selection.
"We had 37 teams requesting to race. ... There can be changes, removals or additions between now and May 9, if something negative happens with one of the riders or teams," said Zomegnan to La Gazzetta dello Sport. Last year, he added Team Astana in the week leading up to the race. Its rider Alberto Contador went on to win the race.
Barloworld may be punished for the positive doping case of its rider Moisés Dueñas at the Tour de France last year. Team Fuji-Servetto, the newly formed team based on Mauro Gianetti's Team Saunier Duval, was left out of the Giro based on the scandal at the Tour with Riccò Ricardo and Leonardo Piepoli.
Corti did not think that Dueñas' case had anything to do with the team's non-selection. "Anyway, my management team was always honest and RCS knows how I work."
RCS Sport also left Barloworld out of Tirreno-Adriatico, March 11 to 17, and Milano-Sanremo, March 21. Enrico Gasparotto finished second overall in Tirreno-Adriatico last year when he rode for Corti.
"I am confident we will be at all of the races on the RCS calendar."
The Giro's 100th anniversary edition is expected to be one of the most fiercely contested in recent years with overall contenders, including Lance Armstrong, Ivan Basso and Carlos Sastre.