The organisers of the Giro del Trentino have announced three Pro-Continental teams for the 40th edition of the race to be held in April this year. The Italian race, which celebrates its 40th edition in 2016, welcomes an Australian team for the first time with Drapac securing a start. Last year's team time trial winners Bora-Argon 18 return, while the Giro d'Italia wild card invitees Gazprom-Rusvelo have also been selected.
The traditional pre-Giro d'Italia race has been won by Australians on the last two occasions, first with Cadel Evans (BMC) in 2014 then Richie Porte with Team Sky. Porte has moved across to BMC from the 2016 but will target the Tour de France over the Giro and is therefore unlikely to defend his title.
Drapac made its Italian racing debut last year at the Coppi e Bartali before predominately focusing on racing in North America. For 2016, the Australian team are shifting its focus to racing in Europe having also secured wildcard entries to Tour de San Luis, and the Tour of Qatar and Oman. Peter Koning opened Drapac's 2016 account with a solo victory at the Tour de San Luis while Will Clarke recently won the Jayco Herald Sun Tour prologue in the team's home town of Melbourne.
Cesare Benedetti, who wore the first leader's jersey of the race last year, returns to the race with Bora-Argon 18 who will announce their full line up in the weeks to come. The German squad has also secured starts at Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo this season.
Recent Gazprom-Rusvelo signing Alexander Kolobnev is set to race the Giro del Trentino with his new Russian team in anticipation of the Giro. The Russian retired at the end of 2015 only to make a return to the sport with the Pro-Continental team earlier this month.
Further team announcements are expected from the race organisers in coming weeks before the April 19 start.