RCS Sport, the organisers of the Giro d'Italia have announced the 22 teams that will ride this year's Giro d'Italia, with Bardiani CSF, Southeast, Androni Giocattoli, Nippo Vini Fantini and Polish team CCC Sprandi Polkowice securing wild card invitations alongside the 17 WorldTour teams, who have automatic entry.
2014 Giro d'Italia winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar) has confirmed that he will target the Tour de France in 2015 but Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) will ride the Giro d'Italia before the Tour de France. He is expected to clash with Fabio Aru (Astana) and Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-Quickstep).
Giro d'Italia race director Mauro Vegni told Cyclingnews in December that he would again support the Italian teams and also offer one wild card place to another Professional Continental team. Despite three cases of doping in the last two years, the Southeast team secured a wild card invitation to the Giro d'Italia thanks to winning the season-long Coppa Italia in 2014, when it was known as Neri Sottoli.
"As per every previous year, we reflected deeply on the wild card choices; an increasingly meticulous process thanks to the quality of the teams that want to participate in our races. I would like to thank, on behalf of RCS Sport, all the teams that have advanced their candidacy," Vegni said in the official announcement of the team by RCS Sport.
"This year’s choices, especially for the wild cards of the Giro d'Italia, were dictated by the opportunity to support the Italian cycling movement, giving continuity to an overall process without ever losing sight of the goal of international development in strategic territories.”
Both MTN-Qhubeka and Bora-Argon 18 opted to focus on the Tour de France in 2015 but the Colombia, Wanty - Groupe Gobert, UnitedHealthcare and Caja Rural - Seguros RGA had hoped to ride the Giro d'Italia. However CCC Sprandi earned the last place. The team signed several new riders for 2015 include Sylvester Szmyd, Grega Bole and Stefan Schumacher. Despite being 43 and making a comeback after a ban for doping, Italy's Davide Rebellin remains the team leader of the Polish squad.
The Colombia team, managed by former Saeco manager Claudio Corti, has ridden the Giro d'Italia several times but has made little impact during the 2014 season, winning just three races.
RCS Sport also announced the team for Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo and Il Lombardia.
Bardiani CSF, Bora-Argon 18, Colombia, MTN-Qhubeka and Europcar secured the five wild card places at Tirreno-Adriatico. They will be joined by Androni Giocattoli, Cofidis, CCC Sprandi and Novo Nordisk for Milan-San Remo, where 25 teams of eight riders will race.
Androni Giocattoli, Bardiani, Bora-Argon 18, CCC Sprandi, Colombia, Nippo Vini Fantini, Southeast and the US-registered Unitedhealthcare team have been invited to Il Lombarida in October.
Teams for 2015 Giro d'Italia: Ag2r-La Mondiale, Astana, BMC Racing, Etixx-QuickStep, FDJ, IAM Cycling, Lampre-Merida, Lotto-Soudal, Movistar, Orica-GreenEdge, Cannondale-Garmin, Giant Alpecin, Katusha, Team LottoNL-Jumbo, Team Sky, Tinkoff-Saxo, Trek Factory Racing, Bardiani CSF, Southeast, Androni Giocattoli, Nippo Vini Fantini and CCC Sprandi.