Mauro Gianetti remains hopeful that the Geox-TMC will secure one of the four wild card places for the Tour de France after making a presentation to race organisers ASO in Paris last week.
Some reports have indicated that Geox-TMC may miss out on a place when the expected four wild cards are announced as early as the end of January. However Gianetti is hoping the presence of Carlos Sastre and Denis Menchov will be enough to convince ASO that the Italian-sponsored, Spanish-registered team deserves a place.
“I made a presentation to ASO along with some of the Geox management. I think it went well but we’re aware the situation is very difficult,” Gianetti told Cyclingnews, carefully choosing his words so not to irritate the Tour de France organisers.
“We know we don’t have an automatic invitation and that there is a lot of competition for places in this year’s race. There are some big French teams that don’t have ProTeam status. They all have their reasons for believing they deserve a place but I hope ASO can appreciate the quality of our riders and project too.”
“I don’t know when ASO will announce the teams, they didn’t tell us it will be at the end of January,” Gianetti added.
New jersey to be unveiled at the team presentation
The Swiss team manager spoke to Cyclingnews from Spain as the Geox-TMC team wrapped up its first training camp.
The riders will next get together on January 31st for the official team presentation at the Geox headquarters near Montebelluna in northern Italy. The team will make its season debut at the Tour of Qatar and in Mallorca on Sunday February 6.
The Geox-TMC riders trained in all black kit at the camp but Gianetti insisted this was to keep the 2011 clothing design under wraps until the official presentation. Last year the Footon-Servetto riders stood out in the peloton because of a black and beige kit decorated with a huge footprint.
“This year’s kit will stand out too. It’s really nice. But you’ll have to wait until the 31st to know the design and colours,” Gianetti said.
“We’re ready for the new season and despite a lot of speculation about our future in some of the press, the riders are very happy. Sastre and Menchov both pointed out the good ambiance in the team and there are other talented riders in the squad, including young riders like Fabio Felline, Fabio Duarte, and Mauricio Ardila, Juan Jose Cobo, Davide Della Fuente and Xavier Florencio.”