Elia Viviani (Team Sky) had looked a shoo-in for Team Sky's Giro d'Italia squad but the Italian sprinter has been surprisingly left out, with the squad entirely built around the overall hopes of Geraint Thomas and Mikel Landa.
Viviani, who is currently racing at the Tour de Romandie and chasing his first win of the season, told Cyclingnews that he was disappointed to miss the 100th edition of the race but that he fully understand the team's decision to support their GC ambitions with a climber-based team.
"For sure I'm disappointed and I'm not happy to miss the Giro d'Italia but the team tactic is to go 100 per cent for Thomas for the GC," Viviani told Cyclingnews at the start of stage 3.
"You know the tactics with Team Sky. When we go full for the GC, like we do at the Tour de France, I understand. I understand the tactic from the team. I wanted to be there but that's the decision. I'll do Tour of California and I go for stages there.
"It's a special Giro and the Ciclamino points jersey is back for the sprinters. It's the 100th edition and it's a special one to miss. This is the team's decision and we'll go 100 per cent for Thomas. After the Tour of the Alps he's really confident of winning or being on the podium. I hope to see them on the front for the Giro."
Climbers ready to back Thomas and Landa
Team Sky head to the Giro d'Italia with Thomas in fine fettle after winning the overall at the Tour of the Alps last week. Landa appears to be the British team's Plan B, although he has finished on the podium at the Italian Grand Tour in the past and has the pedigree to repeat the performance. Diego Rosa and Kenny Elissonde form part of the climbing back up.
The decision to bring a team of climbers and domestiques left Team Sky with the difficult call of whether to select Viviani but offer him little to no support in the sprints or select another climber. They opted to go all in for a shot at overall victory.
"I found out in the last few days. There were a lot of scenarios being thought of by the team. It's not easy to leave me out but at the last meeting, last week, I found out. I was ready for the Giro d'Italia but now I go to California."
Viviani, who won a stage in the Giro d'Italia in 2015, has been in strong form this spring. He finished in the top ten in Milan-San Remo, and although he did not ride many of the spring Classics, he finished second to Marcel Kittel in a highly competitive Scheldeprijs.
“The form is good. I was happy with my performance with ninth in Milan-San Remo but wasn't happy with the result. I've been second six times this season so the form is good. I hope to break through and have the winning feeling again at California."