Androni Giocattoli are still awaiting confirmation of a wildcard invitation to the 2011 Giro d’Italia. Gianni Savio’s men finished top of the 2010 Coppa Italia standings, which in theory won them a Giro berth, although the final list of wildcards is dependant on the teams in question meeting certain criteria.
“Ours is a team built for the Giro d’Italia,” Savio told Gazzetta dello Sport. “We’re awaiting the official invitation from the organisers with calm, because we know that the agreement made between the Italian cycling federation and RCS Sport to invite the 2010 Coppa Italia winner to the race required that three conditions be met: registration in Italy, adherence to the biological passport and a line-up that hadn’t been weakened from the previous year. And ours has been strengthened.”
Savio was speaking at the presentation of the 2011 Androni Giocattoli squad, which took place in Arona on Wednesday. Although he lost Giro podium finisher Michele Scarponi to Lampre-ISD, Savio maintains that he has found an adequate replacement in Jose Rujano. The mercurial Venezuelan rejoins the team where he enjoyed his greatest success in 2005, when he finished third overall at the Giro.
“We rebuilt the team after Scarponi’s departure,” Savio said. “I maintain that it’s a stronger and more compact unit this time around.”
Androni Giocattoli riders have already been to the podium this season. As ever, Savio’s charges were to the fore at the Tour de Langkawi, with Yonathan Monsalve taking overall victory, while sprinter Roberto Ferrari captured two stage wins at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina.
The squad also boasts the talents of Jose Serpa and double Trofeo Laguieglia winner Francesco Ginanni, while Emanuele Sella will be hoping to make his first appearance at the Giro since testing positive for CERA in the summer of 2008.
“Our start to the season had been great with five wins and making the podium in all the races we’ve contested,” Savio said. “Now we have the obligation to continue like that while we wait calmly and faithfully to be invited to participate in the Giro d’Italia.”
It is understood that the wildcard invitations to the Giro d’Italia will be formally announced in early March. Race director Angelo Zomegnan has already confirmed that the Farnese Vini-Neri team of Italian champion Giovanni Visconti will be on the start line in Turin on May 7.
For a full gallery from the Androni Giocattoli presentation, click here.