Gianni Savio's hopes of a joint Androni Giocattoli-Nippo-Vini Fantini team at the Giro d'Italia have been short lived, with Mauro Vegni, the head of cycling at organiser RCS Sport confirming to Cyclingnews that he has no intention of inviting an extra team.
RCS Sport awarded two wild cards to Italian teams: Bardiani-CSF and Wilier Triestina-Southeast, and two others to the Russian Gazprom-RusVelo team and CCC Sprandi Polkowice of Poland.
Savio called for a special exemption from the rules to assign a fifth wild card to a mixed team, composed of four riders from Androni-Sidermec and four from Nippo-Fantini. He argued that with eight extra riders on the road safety would not be a compromised and he pointed to the 2011 edition of the race as an example. That year RCS granted a special dispensation for an extra wildcard team, in order to celebrate 150 years since Italy's Unification.
It would not have been Savio's first experience with a mixed team at a grand tour. He was team manager for ZG Mobili when it share a spot with Team Telekom at the 1995 Tour de France.
Vegni is at the Dubai Tour, which is also organised by RCS Sport. He initially did not want to even comment on Savio's suggestion but then told Cyclingnews: "Everyone has the freedom to make any proposal they want but the truth is that as a company RCS Sport has made its choices for the four wild card for the Giro d'Italia and we’re not going to change out minds.
"I've already explained that our choices are based on sporting, commercial and strategic reasons. There's nothing personal against Androni Giocattoli or Nippo-Vini Fantini, they know that. But as a privately owned company, we've got the right to decide who gets the four final wild card teams."
Immediately after announcing the four wild card teams, Vegni warned the Italians team they need to have a better long-term development plan if they want to secure a place in the Giro d'Italia.
"The crisis in Italian cycling doesn't stem from the (team) choices by the Giro, but by the fact the movement has for years been based upon the wrong business model: 'I need to ride the Giro or else I'll close the team'," Vegni told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"That's no way to think. We'll always give Italian cycling attention, but the Giro can't be everything and the other races count for nothing. The team who won't ride the Giro will ride Strade Bianche, Tirreno and Milan-San Remo. It is wrong to say everything depends on the Giro. That means the teams don't have plans."
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