By Gregor Brown
RCS Sport Events Director Angelo Zomegnan confirmed the Team High Road's Friday press release, indicating that the newly-minted American ProTour team will be able to race the 2008 Giro d'Italia, but said the team's invitation was subject to certain conditions, just as all the teams that have been invited are. The team was initially left off of the list of invited teams.
The change of heart gives High Road a pass to all of the RCS Sport events. "I invited High Road to Eroica yesterday, so you can say there will also be High Road at Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo and the Giro d'Italia," Zomegnan said to Cyclingnews late Friday evening in Italy. All three races are part of RCS Sport's prestigious calendar for 2008. "You can say that this [the Monte Paschi Eroica invitation - ed.] is an indication."
When asked for clarification that the USA-based team will in fact take part in the 91st edition of the Corsa Rosa when it departs on May 10 from Palermo, Zomegnan noted that its participation is conditional, like all teams that have been invited to this point.
"Only if it is in a good position then it can be invited," stated the Italian from Erba. "I don't think thing High Road will have any problems, and like all the teams, it would be invited under conditions. ... I am able to change everything, even on the day the Giro departs – nothing is guaranteed."
Zomegnan indicated that the team, which lost its title sponsor at end of the 2007 season, was under verification during the winter, and it still was not approved when he listed the 21 participation teams on February 1.
"They were in the process of being verified like some other teams."
The possible addition of the team run by Bob Stapleton makes 22 teams that will participate in the Italian Grand Tour... assuming nothing goes away. "If High Road is invited then it becomes 22. There are 21 teams up until now that the Giro has invited. If we invite High Road there will be 22. High Road would be the 22nd [team], so we would be at the maximum."