The candidates for the wildcard invitations to the 2019 Giro d’Italia must wait a little longer to discover if their applications have been successful. An announcement was originally slated for this week but race director Mauro Vegni has explained that the decision has been delayed by a few days while RCS Sport assess the application dossiers in further detail.
"We’re in the home stretch but there are still some small uncertainties, some small doubts to be resolved," Vegni told Tuttobici. "We’re finishing our assessment of the candidates and we’re planning to announce our decision on between Monday, January 21 and Tuesday, January 22."
One of the four wildcards for the 2019 Giro is already known, as Gianni Savio’s Androni-Sidermec squad has earned its selection for the Corsa Rosa by finishing the 2018 campaign atop the season-long Ciclismo Cup standings.
Following the implementation of UCI reforms in 2020, RCS Sport will no longer be in a position to select all four wildcards. Instead, two of the four berths will be set aside for the best-ranked Professional Continental teams in the end of season world rankings.
Had the rule been in place for 2019, it would have seen Cofidis and Wanty-Groupe Gobert earn automatic selection for the Giro d'Italia. Last week, ASO announced that it had awarded its first two wildcards for the 2019 Tour de France to Cofidis and Wanty-Groupe Gobert.
Tuttobici reports that, with the impending rule change in mind, RCS Sport is leaning towards awarding wildcard invitations to all four Italian Professional Continental squads, meaning that Androni-Sidermec would be joined by Bardiani-CSF, Nippo-Vini Fantini and Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM, who raced as Wilier-Selle Italia in 2018.
A number of foreign teams have also submitted applications for wildcard berths, however, with Israel Cycling Academy looking to repeat their 2018 appearance. The Israeli-backed squad signed Italian riders Riccardo Minali and Davide Cimolai during the off-season in a bid to bolster its candidacy. Direct Energie have also applied for a Giro d'Italia wildcard.
In recent seasons, RCS Sport has handed one of its four wildcards to foreign teams, leaving Nippo-Vini Fantini on the side-lines on each occasion. Gazprom-Rusvelo were a surprising invitee in 2016, while CCC-Sprandi were given a wildcard in 2017 and Israel Cycling Academy were invited last year when the Giro began in Israel.
The 2019 Giro gets underway in Bologna on May 11 and finishes in Verona on June 2. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) and Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) are among the contenders to have confirmed their participation.
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