The director of the Giro d'Italia Angelo Zomegnan has explained how he selected the 22 teams that will take part in this year's Giro d'Italia, listing team's results, anti-doping track record and nationality as the three key factors.
Speaking to Tuesday's Gazzetta dello Sport, Zomegnan made it clear Riccardo Riccò and any other rider who has recently completed a ban for doping will not immediately be welcome at the Giro d'Italia.
Some observers were surprised to see Bbox Bouygues Telecom and Cofidis amongst the 22 teams and not Italian squads ISD-Neri and Carmiooro-NGC. However, the two French outfits are part of a group of 16-teams that struck a three-year deal with RCS Sport in 2008. Euskaltel-Euskadi and Francaise des Jeux were also part of the agreement, but opted not to ride the Giro.
Zomegnan justified his team selections in eight answers:
What principals did you follow to select the teams for the Giro d'Italia?
"The qualities of the team, the path of their results, by that I mean how clean they are, and then geopolitics: 13 countries are represented."
What anti-doping measure will there be?
"It will be the most controlled Giro ever. We'll involve the labs in Lausanne, Cologne, Rome and Chatenay-Malabry. The team managers will indicate 15 riders from which they'll select the nine starters. These will get special attention."
Why no Riccardo Riccò?
"Until a certain amount of time has past to reassure us that we're not at risk anymore, certain riders won't ride the Giro. That means Riccò but also (Emanuele Sella).
How long will that be?
A sufficient period so that they can show there are no suspicions about them and for them to prove they're still riders. This happened to [Alexandre] Vinokourov and [Ivan] Basso. Will Riccò be the same without higher-octane fuel?
There's no Armstrong or his RadioShack team.
"There's not much to say. They never asked us to take part."
The Androni team had a case of doping (Massimo Giunti). How will you behave if this kind of things happens again?
"If there was a Festina-style case, any team involved would be left at home. But if the doping case only involves a single rider, we'll evaluate the behaviour of the team and perhaps cases from the past. Nobody is safe."
Why Colnago-CSF Inox?
"Reverberi's team [formerly known as CSF Group-Navigare] has paid for its mistakes and missed out last year. They had a good start to the season and deserve a chance."
Visconti's ISD-Neri team didn’t get a ride but he wore the pink jersey for eight days in 2008.
"Last year we put our faith in them, but since then they haven't done much."