The Giro d’Italia will get under way in Naples in a little over three weeks’ time with 23 teams instead of the usual 22 - in both cases, with nine riders each - with the UCI granting an exemption to its usual rules, a move necessitated by Katusha’s belated securing of a WorldTour licence for the 2013 season.
The Russian team had been refused a licence late last year by the UCI’s Licence Commission, and successfully challenged that decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which announced its decision in mid-February.
The UCI, which had earlier suggested that it might reopen the registration process meaning that one of the 18 teams already in possession of a WorldTour licence would have to drop down to second-tier Professional Continental status to make way for Katusha, eventually decided simply to have 19 WorldTour teams for this year.
However, that had a knock-on effect for Giro organisers RCS Sport, which had already announced the wild cards for this season’s Giro; in January, it had revealed the identity of the four UCI Professional Continental teams that would line up alongside the then 18 WorldTour teams for the race – and Katusha wasn’t amongst them.
So, when the CAS decision was announced, that left them with a headache, one that is now resolved, with the UCI having told RCS Sport last week that they would be allowed to have 207 riders and 19 WorldTour teams in the race after waiving the usual limits of 200 and 18, respectively.
The larger field in itself isn’t unprecedented, and happened as recently as 2011, when the UCI granted RCS Sport permission to include an extra team in the Giro d’Italia for an edition of the race that celebrated the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy – although on that occasion, it was 18 WorldTour and five Professional Continental teams that took to the start in Turin.
The full list of teams taking part in this year’s race, which starts in Naples on Saturday 4 May and concludes in Brescia on Sunday 26 May, is:
AG2R La Mondiale (FRA)
Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela (ITA) *
Argos Shimano (NED)
Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox (ITA) *
Blanco Pro Cycling (NED)
BMC Racing (USA)
Colombia (COL) *
Omega Pharma-Quick Step (BEL)
Sky Procycling (GBR)
Vini Fantini-Selle Italia (ITA)*
* UCI Professional Continental team
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.