By Shane Stokes in Doha, Qatar
One of the teams which was relieved and encouraged to see the Giro d'Italia list of invited teams was Tinkoff Credit Systems. The Russian squad took part in the race for the first time last year and will head back determined to improve on that display. "It is terrific that our team is in there," said General Manager Stefano Feltrin in Doha, seconds after seeing confirmation that they had got a wildcard place.
"I am quite surprised to see some teams I was not expecting to see and also some ProTour teams that are not in there I know that Crédit Agricole, High Road, Bouygues Telecom and Astana are not in there. So too Acqua e Sapone, which is very surprising for me.
"My first reaction is that we are very happy that it has been confirmed. We had some talks with the organiser but of course seeing this list is the only way it is official. We are very, very happy."
The team was one of the most attacking squads last year and Feltrin expects to see more of the same. "We will still be very aggressive. Of course we would like to get a little more results from this way of racing. I think we grew as a team as a result of riding the race and we can achieve better results. The team is going to be a major player in the Giro.
"Mikhail Ignatiev will be there, of course. We will also put a lot of hopes on Evgeni Petrov, who was seventh last year, and with this time to prepare for the Giro, it will be important. Alberto Loddo too we saw what he has done here [in Qatar] with two second places and one victory. It is great to have a full-fledged sprinter in our ranks and Alberto is really eager to be there.
"All in all, it is going to be very interesting."