Giro d'Italia next?
By Gregor Brown
In a twist of events, Milano-Sanremo organisers RCS Sport announced on Tuesday afternoon that embattled ProTour team Unibet.com will now be granted a start in the race's 98th edition on March 24. It will be the seventh wildcard invite, adding to teams Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo, Astana, Barloworld, Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, Team LPR and Tinkoff Credit Systems.
On February 23, RCS Sport events director Angelo Zomegnan said: "We will go on to have our races without Unibet. In my house we invite who we want, not who the UCI says." Times have changed, however, and following the IPCT truce meeting on March 6, Unibet.com's lawyers showed proof to Zomegnan that they were legal to race in Italy.
"We are working with the lawyer in Italy as well and there we have proved to the organiser of the Giro [RCS Sport - ed.] that we really have a license in that country," said Unibet.com General Manager Koen Terryn on March 10 to Cyclingnews. "So our problems in Italy should be solved. We may miss Tirreno-Adriatico for organisational reasons, but Mr. Zomegnan was really helpful. He saw that we are not illegal so that will be to our advantage."
Now with the team racing in La Classicissima there will be high hopes that Zomegnan gives the nod for a start in the Giro d'Italia. The team has a contender in new signing José Rujano, who finished third in the 2005 Giro.
The 100th year of the Sanremo will feature 25 teams of eight, making for 200 riders starting from Piazza Sant'Ambrogio in Milan.
Teams for Milano-Sanremo: Ag2r Prévoyance (Fra), Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo (Ita), Astana (Swi), Barloworld (GBr), Bouygues Telecom (Fra), Caisse d'Epargne (Spa), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare (Irl), Cofidis (Fra), Crédit Agricole (Fra), Discovery Channel (USA), Euskaltel-Euskadi (Spa), Française Des Jeux (Fra), Gerolsteiner (Ger), Lampre-Fondital (Ita), Liquigas (Ita), Predictor-Lotto (Bel), Quickstep-Innergetic (Bel), Rabobank (Ned), Saunier Duval-Prodir (Spa), T-Mobile (Ger), Team CSC (Den), Team LPR (Swi), Milram (Ita), Tinkoff Credit Systems (Ita) and Unibet.com (Swe)