Italy national team hands Gazprom-RusVelo riders racing lifeline

Per sempre Alfredo 2022 - 2nd Edition - Firenze - Sesto Fiorentino 172,7 km - 20/03/2022 - Italy - photo Tommaso Pelagalli/SprintCyclingAgency©2022
The Italian national team – including four Gazprom-RusVelo riders – at the start of Per Sempre Alfredo (Image credit: Tommaso Pelagalli/SprintCyclingAgency©2022)

Following the team's ban from racing as part of the UCI's suspension order on Russian and Belarusian squads from competition from March 1, Gazprom-RusVelo's riders have sat on the sidelines as the spring season has rolled on without them.

Having originally been invited to races such as the Trofeo Laigueglia, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Torino, and Milan-San Remo, the squad – including 12 foreigners and seven Italians – have missed out on the action as the team seeks new sponsorship by the end of March.

Several of the team's Italian riders will be back racing this week, though, as the Italian national team has announced a 'national team of solidarity' for Sunday's Per Sempre Alfredo race and this week's Settimana Coppi e Bartali.

At Per Sempre Alfredo, the hilly Tuscan one-day race, the Italian squad features four Gazprom-RusVelo riders: Alessandro Fedeli, Giovanni Carboni, Nicola Conci, and Marco Canola.

Cristian Scaroni will join the quartet in the squad for the five-day Settimana Coppi e Bartali, which starts in Riccione on Tuesday.

"Our philosophy, especially regarding the Italian riders of the Gazprom team, is to allow them to work at their best until the situation they are involved in is resolved," said national team manager Roberto Amadio. "In the meantime, we feel like we are offering them an opportunity to show off."

All riders currently contracted by Gazprom-RusVelo are free to seek contracts elsewhere, per the UCI's measures.

However, both team manager Renat Khamidulin and agent for rider agent Alex Carera have confirmed that all riders will wait for the team's sponsorship deadline of March 27 before attempting to move on.

"We have a team with the right balance and level," said Italian national coach Daniele Bennati. "We will have riders at the start who had meticulously prepared for Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo.

"They want to stand out and are ambitious and as Federciclismo we are close to them in this difficult moment."

Antonio Tiberi (Trek-Segafredo), Kristian Sbaragli (Alpecin-Fenix), and Lorenzo Milesi (Team DSM) complete the Italy squad for Per Sempre Alfredo. Gabriele Petrelli (Friuli Cycling Team), and Edoardo Faresin (Zalf-Euromobil-Désirée-Fior) will race alongside the five Gazprom-RusVelo men at Settimana Coppi e Bartali.

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