By Gregor Brown
RCS Sport, organisers of the Giro d'Italia, has named the teams that are invited to Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo, and, as it did for the Giro, it has left off the list Astana and Acqua & Sapone. Acqua & Sapone's Stefano Garzelli, winner of the 2000 Giro and two stages in last year's Giro, felt "burned" by the recent news.
21 teams have been invited to Tirreno, March 12 to 18, and 24 to Sanremo, March 22. On the list of invitees for both races is Team High Road, which was initially not invited to the Giro, but now appears to be racing after invitations to the recent two events and Monte Paschi Eroica.
"I feel burned," said Garzelli to Cyclingnews this morning. "It is truly unexplainable. I don't know what I will do now." In fact, Garzelli indicated that he was not sure if he would take part in this weekend's Trofeo Laigueglia as his morale was low.
The 34 year-old Italian tried calling RCS Sports Events Director, Angelo Zomegnan, a couple of times following the announcement of the decision, but his phone calls were reportedly refused. The team of Palmiro Masciarelli has been linked with riders under current doping investigations – Michele Scarponi (Operación Puerto) and Luca Paolini (Operazione Athena) – which may have had to do with RCS Sport's decision.
The teams were selected based on "ethics, quality, international character [and] the historical relationship with RCS Sport," and their invitations maybe withdrawn at any moment that the organiser wishes. The invited teams are Ag2r-La Mondiale, Barloworld, Caisse d'Epargne, Cofidis, CSF Group Navigare, Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Française des Jeux, Gerolsteiner, High Road, Lampre, Liquigas, LPR Brakes, Quick Step, Rabobank, Saunier Duval-Scott, Silence-Lotto, Slipstream Chipotle - H30, Team CSC, Team Milram and Tinkoff Credit Systems. Additionally, for Milano-Sanremo there will be the teams of Crédit Agricole, Bouygues Telecom and NGC Medical-OTC Industria Porte.