Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec owner Gianni Savio says that the decision by Giro d’Italia organisers RCS not to award his team a wildcard has come as a surprise and could spell the end for them. Savio’s team, which celebrates their 20th season in the sport this year, was the only Italian team to miss out on a spot when the wildcards were announced on Monday with Gazprom-Rusvelo taking the fourth spot.
Savio was quick to react to the news and has already been on the phone to his major sponsors Androni and Sidermec to reassure them but he will now spend the next month securing the backing of his remaining sponsors. He told Cyclingnews that a final decision on the future of the team would be made during the Giro d’Italia.
“We will continue the season and honour all of the races and we have many races all over the world. We also have the wildcard for Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo but I prepared the team for the Giro d’Italia not for Tirreno-Adriatico,” Savio told Cyclingnews.
“There is the possibility that at the end of the season the team will disappear after 20 seasons. The second is that the team starts from scratch. I have had some challenges in my sporting life but always I have fought back. Because of my character, I want to continue, I don’t want to stop. It depends on my sponsors.
“During the Giro d’Italia we will decide if we will finish with a gala to remember the 20 years of activity or if I will be able to continue.”
It had been expected that at least one of the Italian teams would miss out on a wildcard, as the Giro d’Italia looks to expand its horizons. Androni have had a troubled past 12 months and became the first team to be handed a suspension from the UCI after Davide Appolonio and Fabio Taborre both tested positive within a few weeks of each other. The team are currently suing both riders with hearings expected on March 18 and 22.
Savio believes that this was largely behind the decision but expressed his surprise and frustration that it had been made. “I was not sure but I thought that we would receive the wildcard. We have always honoured the Giro. This year is 20 years of our team and during these 20 years we have always honoured the Giro,” he said.
“I know that last year was not a bad year but for the two criminals who doped. Never have I put pressure on my riders. This was very bad and this was crazy because doping in Italy is a crime and so if one man makes a crime he is a criminal. Sure, this was bad and we stopped for one month, and so we have had no bad season because we won 11 races, but because of these two dopers it put a question over the wildcard.”
Savio told Cyclingnews that he had spoken to Mauro Vengi the race director of the Giro d’Italia but that he had refused to discuss the situation.