Spanish pro continental team Xacobeo-Galicia are sending team leader Ezequiel Mosquera to Milan for this Saturday's presentation of the Giro d'Italia, in the hope that it might assist their efforts to get a wild card invitation to next year's corsa rosa.
Alvaro Pino's team received an invite to this year's race, but their hopes of making an impact were hit when Mosquera suffered an injury at home just days before the race and could not start. Back-up team leader Gustavo César Veloso was then affected by allergies and failed to produce his best form. The misfortunes resulted in the team failing to make the impression that they and Giro organisers RCS had hoped for.
"The organisation was pleased with us, but that might not be sufficient," Pino admitted to the Faro de Vigo. Competition for places in all of the Grand Tours is likely to be tougher than ever next year due to the emergence of squads such as RadioShack and Team Sky.
But Pino is viewing Mosquera's invite to the Milan presentation as a positive omen. With 18 elite teams likely to be guaranteed entry, Pino is hoping that his team can take one of the four supplementary slots expected to be on offer. The possible recruitment of 2006 Tour winner Oscar Pereiro should help in this respect, although a move from Caisse d'Epargne has yet to be confirmed.
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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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