Androni win Ciclismo Cup to secure 2018 Giro d'Italia invitation
Italian Pro-Continental team victorious in season-long competition
Absent from the Giro d'Italia for the last two editions, Italian Pro-Continental team Androni Sidermec has all but confirmed its return in 2018. With one race still to come, Milano-Torino, Androni Sidermec have won the Ciclismo Cup to ensure one of four wild card entries to the Giro. The team last won the competition in 2012.
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Formally known as the 'Coppa Italia', the 2017 Ciclismo Cup started with the Costa degli Etruschi in February and features 15 races in total. Androni moved into the overall lead following the Settimana di Coppi e Bartali while its riders Francesco Gavazzi and Egan Bernal have both led the individual classification. Nippo-Vini Fantini, who also missed out on a wild card invitation to the 2017 Giro, are likely to finish second.
Calling the non-invitation to the 100th edition of the Giro a "big injustice", Savio and his Androni team have enjoyed one of its better seasons with 22 wins in the 2017 season. While star rider Egan Bernal is moving to Team Sky from next year, the Colombian has been a standout rider for Androni, helping them secure the Ciclismo Cup. Bernal has enjoyed top-ten results across the season and went on to win Le Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc, Sibiu Cycling Tour, and Tour de l'Avenir in succession midway through the year.
Sprinter Marco Benfatto has enjoyed a late-season surge by winning three stages at Tour of China I and II. If the Italian remains with Androni, he would be a rider for the Giro sprint stages. First year professional Kevin Rivera, 19, won his first race at the Tour of China II with general manager Gianni Savio earmarking the climber as his next GC prospect. The Costa Rican is currently signed up with the team through to the end of the 2020 season.
Between 2001 with Carlos Alberto Contreras and 2012 with Roberto Ferrari, the team won 13 stages of the Giro d'Italia. In 2005, José Rujano also won the mountains classification for the team.
The 2017 Giro wild card teams were Bardiani-CSF, CCC Sprandi, Gazprom-Rusvelo and Wilier-Selle Italia.
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