By Gregor Brown
Mauro Gianetti is upset that his team Fuji-Servetto squad did not make the first round of invited teams for the February, 2009 Tour of California. Race organiser AEG named the first eight teams for its fourth edition yesterday.
"It seems ridiculous to me, if they don't take us then how many [other] teams," Gianetti said to Cyclingnews.
Doping scandals affected Gianetti's Saunier Duval team this year at the Tour de France. Positive anti-doping control results by his riders Riccò and Piepoli forced the team out of the race and a complete restructuring for 2009. The team now has a USA sponsor, Fuji, and a list of new riders that includes stage winner in the 2007 Tour of California, Ivan Dominguez.
Gianetti said that those cases should not affect his team, and pointed out that Liquigas, with Ivan Basso returning from suspension, was on the roster. "I don't know why [Riccardo] Riccò and [Leonardo] Piepoli would be different than Ivan Basso, Moisés Dueñas and all the rest," he said.
"We clearly have interests in participating. ... For the last month I have been calling the organiser, but they don't respond to my call. In e-mails or telephone calls, he [team liaison Kevin Livingston] never responded."
Gianetti hopes AEG will include his team in the final roster due out in February. He has handed the fight over to the newly appointed Team Manager, Italian Alvaro Crespi.