Giro d'Italia organisers RCS Sport have announced the three wildcard entries for the 2021 race, with the new Pro Continental team Eolo-Kometa leading the way alongside Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè and Vini Zabù.
The Italian-registered and Spanish-based Eolo-Kometa, which is led by now-retired Giro winners Alberto Contador and Ivan Basso, moved up from the Continental level for 2021 having grown from the Fundación Contador. Title sponsor, the internet provider Eolo, is familiar to cycling fans as sponsors of RCS Sport races Il Lombardia, Gran Piemonte, Tirreno-Adriatico and Strade Bianche.
Luca Scinto and Angelo Citracca's Vini Zabù receive their 11th invitation, having only missed the 2010 and 2019 editions of the race since their foundation in 2009. Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè, meanwhile, continue their near-unbroken run of Giro participations stretching back to the 1990s, only missing the 2009 race in recent history.
Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec are also a regular fixture at the race, last missing out in 2017. The team has won 14 Giro stages in its history, also finishing third overall and winning the climber's jersey with José Rujano in 2005.
Vini Zabù have three Giro stage wins to their name, with the 2012 edition seeing Matteo Rabottini and Andrea Guardini took wins while Rabottini won the blue climber's jersey. In 2020, the team made the headlines after Luca Wackermann was hospitalised after being struck by loose advertising hoardings, while Matteo Spreafico was ejected from the race after testing positive for ostarine.
Bruno Reverberi's Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè have won 21 stages over the years, with Giulio Ciccone, Domenico Pozzovivo, Julio Alberto Pérez Cuapio and Stefano Zanini among the team's past stage winners. The squad has also taken the points, mountains and young rider's jerseys over the years.
Notable current riders on the three invitees include Giovanni Visconti, Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), Francesco Gavazzi, Wackermann (Eolo-Kometa), Marco Frapporti, and Edoardo Zardini (Vini Zabù)
The trio of wildcard invitations comes after the UCI approved the measure to add a wildcard team last week – a one-off move due to the impact of COVID-19 on cycling. The invites, along with 19 WorldTour teams and Alpecin-Fenix – who receive an invite as winners of the 2020 European Tour – means that the Grande Partenza in Turin will feature 23 teams and 184 riders.
Elsewhere, Strade Bianche invitations have been handed out to Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè, Eolo-Kometa and Vini Zabù, while Alpecin-Fenix and Arkéa-Samsic receive automatic invitations.
Tirreno-Adriatico will welcome Alpecin-Fenix, Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, Arkéa-Samsic, Eolo-Kometa, Gazprom-RusVelo, and Total Direct Énergie, while Milan-San Remo invites have been handed to Alpecin-Fenix, Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, Arkéa-Samsic, Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè, Novo Nordisk and Total Direct Énergie.
Invitations for the 2020 Giro d'Italia
- Vini Zabù
Invitations for other RCS Sport races
Milan-San Remo: Alpecin-Fenix, Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, Arkéa-Samsic, Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè, Novo Nordisk, Total Direct Énergie
Strade Bianche: Alpecin-Fenix, Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, Arkéa-Samsic, Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè, Eolo-Kometa
Tirreno-Adriatico: Alpecin-Fenix, Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, Arkéa-Samsic, Eolo-Kometa, Gazprom-RusVelo, Total Direct Énergie
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Daniel Ostanek has been a staff writer at Cyclingnews since August 2019, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later part-time production editor. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.
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