The Polish CCC Sprandi Polkowice team has described their wildcard selection for the Giro d'Italia as 'by far the biggest highlight in the team’s history', and thanked race organiser RCS Sport for putting its trust in the team.
The Italian organiser invited CCC Sprandi to the Giro d'Italia, Milan-San Remo and Il Lombardia. The Bardiani CSF, Southeast, Androni Giocattoli and Nippo Vini Fantini teams also secured an invitation to the Giro d'Italia, with the Colombia team missing out.
RCS Sport justified its wildcard selections, saying they 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.”
CCC Sprandi will stand out in the Giro d'Italia peloton thanks to their bright orange colours.
“Invitation to those races is by far the biggest highlight in the team’s history, since I’ve become the directeur sportif. It has been a long process and we are very proud that RCS Sport has put trust in us. What’s special about the invitation to the Giro is the fact that we are the only non-Italian team, which received the wildcard,” Piotr Wadecki said in a statement from the team.
“In the off season we made some changes and strengthened the team. We brought in a few international riders with impressive cycling resumes. We also signed Sylwester Szmyd, who has finished the Giro d’Italia 11 times and knows everything about the race. All those moves and the results which we accomplished in the previous years, were recognized by the RCS Sport. They were also impressed with our approach and long-term plan for the team.
“We are very happy about this invite but we are aware that it’s also a big responsibility and a challenge. All of our riders have to be in the top shape in those races and we have to concentrate on the right preparation. As a team, with this management and roster, we’ve never taken part in the three-week race, so we have a hard task ahead of us. Not only on the sporting level but also logistic. Before the season we have added extra masseurs, mechanics and we hired technical coordinator, Slawomir Blaszczyk, who has WorldTour experience.”
Second Giro d'Italia for the Polish team
It is the second time the Polish team has ridden the Giro d'Italia, 12 years after Dariusz Baranowski finished 12th overall. Gilberto Simoni (Saeco) was the overall winner in 2003.
The 2015 CCC Sprandi squad includes several riders with Grand Tour experience and success on their palmares including Szmyd, Branislau Samoilau, Grega Bole, Maciej Paterski and Jaroslaw Marycz.
The team also has Davide Rebellin and Stefan Schumacher in their roster for 2015. Rebellin, 43, won a stage in the 1996 Giro d'Italia and wore the race leader's pink jersey for six days. Rebellin tested positive for the banned blood booster CERA at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games after winning the bronze medal. He returned to racing in 2011. Schumacher also tested positive for CERA at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and in another test at the 2008 Tour de France.