The director of the Giro d?Italia Angelo Zomegnan has justified his selection of 20 of the possible 22 teams for this year?s Giro d?Italia, saying that he based his decision on ethics and quality.

On Wednesday RCS Sport invited 20 teams to the centenary edition of the Giro and also announced most of the teams invited to Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo.

There were some surprises, with the Spanish Xacobeo team getting an invitation to the Giro thanks to Ezequiel Mosquera?s fourth place in the 2008 Vuelta, while the British registered Team Barloworld was left off the initial lists for all three races.

Also snubbed in the first round of invitations were the troubled Fuji-Servetto ProTour team that was created from the ashes of the Saunier Duval team, as were CSF-Navigare and the Ceramica Flaminia team that includes current Italian national champion Filippo Simeoni. Also missing from the list of teams for the Giro d?Italia are ProTour teams Euskaltel, Cofidis, Francaise des Jeux and Fuji-Servetto.

The final two places in the Giro d?Italia start list will be decided after Milan-San Remo on March 21, even if Zomegnan pointed out it is not obligatory to have a total of 198 riders in the race.

To get a ride Team Barloworld will have impress in the early season races and hope that team manager Claudio Corti?s long-term relations with RCS Sport convinces Zomegnan to give Steve Cummings, Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome a ride.

ETHICS AND QUALITY

It has been widely suggested that Flaminia was left at home to please Lance Armstrong. Simeoni was a key witness in the Dr Michele Ferrari trial and claimed under oath that Ferrari prescribed him EPO. Ferrari was acquitted on appeal but Armstrong spectacularly chased down Simeoni during the 2004 Tour de France which lead to the Italian being ostracised in the peloton.

?The speculation that Armstrong doesn?t want Simeoni (in the Giro) is specious,? Zomegnan told Gazzetta dello Sport on Thursday.

?The fact that he?s Italian national champion doesn?t change things. Flaminia wasn?t in (the Giro) in 2007 or 2008 either, when Armstrong was at home fishing.?

Zomegnan gave no specific reason for not inviting Team Barloworld but carefully explained his selection criteria: ?Everything?s based on ethics and quality. We invite the teams we think deserve to take part. All the invitations are sub-judice, based on the taking part and the completion of the Biological Passport the UCI is working on.?

37 REQUESTS FOR GIRO PLACES

?We had 37 requests for an invitation. Euskaltel are staying at home because they haven?t got a big enough team. The two French teams are out because of technical choices. Things are different for Gianetti. Ethics are our starting point and the havoc at last year?s Tour and before it also cast a shadow on the Giro. Some of these riders caused us problems with our partners and caused us image and economic problems.?

Zomegnan warned that invitations could be withdrawn at any moment before the start of the Giro on May 9 in Venice.

?Changes, cancellations and additions could occur before May 9 if something happens to a single rider or a team,? he said.

Zomegnan pulled off a coup by persuading Lance Armstrong to ride the Giro for the first time and he revealed the race would give the Texan a platform to promote the fight against cancer.

?Lance has written to the Italian president Napolitano and to Prime Minister Berlusconi about the fight against cancer. The Giro will be an extraordinary occasion to launch his campaign.?

The Giro d?Italia kicks off with a team time trial along the Venice Lido on May 9 and ends with an individual time trial in the centre of Rome on May 31.

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TEAMS INVITED TO GIRO D?ITALIA, May 9-31, 2009

Maximum of 22 teams invited

1) ACQUA&SAPONE – CAFFE? MOKAMBO (Ita)

2) AG2R LA MONDIALE (Fra)

3) ASTANA (Kaz)

4) BBOX BOUYGUES TELECOM (Fra)

5) CAISSE D?EPARGNE (Spa)

6) CERVELO TEST TEAM (Svi)

7) GARMIN – SLIPSTREAM (Usa)

8) ISD (Ita)

9) LAMPRE-NGC (Ita)

10) LIQUIGAS (Ita)

11) LPR BRAKES – FARNESE VINI (Irl)

12) QUICK STEP (Bel)

13) RABOBANK (Ola)

14) SILENCE ? LOTTO (Bel)

15) DIQUIGIOVANNI (Ven)

16) TEAM COLUMBIA ? HIGH ROAD (Usa)

17) TEAM KATUSHA (Rus)

18) TEAM MILRAM (Ger)

19) TEAM SAXO BANK (Dan)

20) XACOBEO GALICIA (Spa)

TIRRENO-ADRIATICO, March 11-17, 2009

Maximum of 25 teams of eight riders invited

1) ACQUA&SAPONE – CAFFE? MOKAMBO (Ita)

2) AG2R LA MONDIALE (Fra)

3) ASTANA (Kaz)

4) BBOX BOUYGUES TELECOM (Fra)

5) CAISSE D?EPARGNE (Spa)

6) CERVELO TEST TEAM (Svi)

7) COFIDIS, LE CREDIT EN LIGNE (Fra)

8) EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI (Spa)

9) FRANCAISE DES JEUX (Fra)

10) GARMIN – SLIPSTREAM (Usa)

11) LAMPRE-NGC (Ita)

12) LIQUIGAS (Ita)

13) LPR BRAKES – FARNESE VINI (Irl)

14) QUICK STEP (Bel)

15) RABOBANK (Ola)

16) SILENCE ? LOTTO (Bel)

17) DIQUIGIOVANNI (Ven)

18) TEAM COLUMBIA ? HIGH ROAD (Usa)

19) TEAM KATUSHA (Rus)

20) TEAM MILRAM (Ger)

21) TEAM SAXO BANK (Dan)

MILANO-SANREMO, March 21, 2009

Maximum of 25 teams of eight riders invited

1) ACQUA&SAPONE – CAFFE? MOKAMBO (Ita)

2) AG2R LA MONDIALE (Fra)

3) ASTANA (Kaz)

4) BBOX BOUYGUES TELECOM (Fra)

5) CAISSE D?EPARGNE (Spa)

6) CERVELO TEST TEAM (Svi)

7) COFIDIS, LE CREDIT EN LIGNE (Fra)

8) EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI (Spa)

9) FRANCAISE DES JEUX (Fra)

10) GARMIN – SLIPSTREAM (Usa)

11) ISD (Ita)

12) LAMPRE-NGC (Ita)

13) LIQUIGAS (Ita)

14) LPR BRAKES – FARNESE VINI (Irl)

15) QUICK STEP (Bel)

16) RABOBANK (Ola)

17) SILENCE ? LOTTO (Bel)

18) DIQUIGIOVANNI (Ven)

19) TEAM COLUMBIA ? HIGH ROAD (Usa)

20) TEAM KATUSHA (Rus)

21) TEAM MILRAM (Ger)

22) TEAM SAXO BANK (Dan)