Giro open to 18 ProTour teams and four wildcards

Tinkov and Zomegnan

Tinkov and Zomegnan (Image credit: Sirotti)

Tinkoff aims for a starting spot

Talking about the upcoming team selection for the Giro d'Italia, Director Angelo Zomegnan told Cyclingnews Wednesday, "We will have 18 ProTour teams and four wild cards." This means that two ProTour teams may be left at home, while opening the doors for more pro-continental teams that have a strong desire to race the Giro.

One such team that may walk through the open door is Tinkoff Credit Systems. The team is a professional continental team and will have to rely on wild card invitations to the big races. Furthermore, Zomegnan made his remarks at the team's presentation in Rome. He is the likely key to the team's entry into the Giro, so his presence at the race is a good sign for Tinkoff's chances.

"This is the only presentation I will attend this year," Zomegnan said after traveling from Milan to attend the event, where he admired the squad's owner. "Look at Oleg Tinkov. He is a very smart man. He has made all the right moves, signing on one of the greatest Italian bike companies, holding the presentation in such a fancy venue, the best team cars and even the good taste in clothing he is wearing [Colnago team bikes, German Mercedes team cars and Italian suits for the evening. There was plenty of caviar personally imported by the team from Russia, accompanying a delicious dinner - ed.]."

The rift between grand tour organizers and the ProTour will also help Tinkoff's chances in the Giro. Zomegnan noted his differences with UCI president Pat McQuaid and said the two were definitely not talking after recent "Mafia" comments by the Irishman. "You could really see his soul with those remarks."

Zomegnan told Cyclingnews about the upcoming Giro team selection, "We will announce the teams three months prior [February 12]."

The team presented eighteen riders for 2007. One of the team's biggest signings during the off-season was American Tyler Hamilton. "It is exciting to start with such a group of young riders [the majority of the Russians - ed.] that are eager to learn," explained Hamilton, who, along with Danilo Hondo and Salvatore Commesso, will be one of the team's experienced rider and will act as a guide for the younger members.

To read the complete feature on the Tinkoff presentation, click here.

A full listing of the team's roster can be found on the Cyclingnews teams database.

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