Team Sky and Mark Cavendish’s HTC-Columbia have secured their places in RCS Sport’s early-season races – Eroica, Milan-San Remo and Tirreno-Adriatico – but notably off the list of invitees is the team of Riccardo Riccò, Ceramica Flaminia.

Riccò will return to racing March 18 and had planned to use the Milan-San Remo, two days later, as his comeback race. His Ceramica Flaminia team participated in the races last year, though, and may have been left off the list due to Riccò’s partner, Vania Rossi, testing positive for EPO-CERA.

EPO-CERA was found in Riccò’s blood at the 2008 Tour de France and led to his current 20-month suspension. Ceramica Flaminia signed him in hopes to support its team at RCS Sport’s other race, the Giro d’Italia, but its team manager expressed doubts when Rossi’s positive test for EPO-CERA was revealed last month.

Sky’s Thomas Lofkvist won RCS Sport’s first race last year, Eroica, and finished fourth overall at the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race when racing for Columbia. Later in the month, Brit Mark Cavendish (Columbia) became the youngest winner of Milan-San Remo since Eddy Merckx in 1966. Both Sky and HTC-Columbia received invitations for all of RCS Sport’s early races.

Other notable teams making the cut are Cervélo TestTeam (with Thor Hushovd, Roger Hammond), BMC Racing (Cadel Evans, Alessandro Ballan), Garmin-Transitions (Tyler Farrar, Ryder Hesjedal) and Astana (Alexandre Vinokourov). USA’s RadioShack only received an invitation to Milan-San Remo, which Lance Armstrong has marked on his schedule.

Italian teams Lampre-Farnese Vini, Liquigas-Doimo, Acqua & Sapone, Androni Giocattoli and ISD-Neri are all attending their home races. However, Colnago-CSF Inox will race only Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo, and CarmioOro-NGC will race Milan-San Remo.

RCS Sport is expected to announce the teams for the Giro d’Italia in the coming week. On the list will likely be Team Sky, who will bring Bradley Wiggins to aim for the time trials and prepare for the Tour de France.

Eroica, March 6
Acqua & Sapone
AG2R La Mondiale
Androni-Diquigiovanni
Astana
BMC Racing
Cervélo TestTeam
Garmin-Transitions
HTC-Columbia
ISD-Neri
Katusha
Lampre-Farnese Vini
Liquigas-Doimo
Omega Pharma-Lotto
Saxo Bank
Team Sky

Tirreno-Adriatico, March 10-16
Acqua & Sapone
AG2R La Mondiale
Androni-Diquigiovanni
Astana
BMC Racing
Caisse d’Epargne
Cervélo TestTeam
Colnago-CSF Inox
Euskaltel-Euskadi
Française des Jeux
Garmin-Transitions
HTC-Columbia
ISD-Neri
Katusha
Lampre-Farnese Vini
Liquigas-Doimo
Milram
Omega Pharma-Lotto
Quick Step
Rabobank
Saxo Bank
Team Sky

Milan-San Remo, March 20
Acqua & Sapone
AG2R La Mondiale
Androni-Diquigiovanni
Astana
Bbox Bouygues Telecom
BMC Racing
Caisse d’Epargne
CarmioOro-NGC
Cervélo TestTeam
Colnago-CSF Inox
Euskaltel-Euskadi
Française des Jeux
Garmin-Transitions
HTC-Columbia
ISD-Neri
Katusha
Lampre-Farnese Vini
Liquigas-Doimo
Milram
Omega Pharma-Lotto
Quick Step
Rabobank
RadioShack
Saxo Bank
Team Sky