Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli boss Gianni Savio sets out big goal of joining the WorldTour in 2024

The second division team has set out some big goals for the future with its young squad

Drone Hoper-Androni Giocattoli
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Newly named Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli have set up an ambitious plan to join the UCI WorldTour by 2024.

The team that has an average age of just 24 has become known over the years as one of the best outfits for bringing through new talent with the likes of Giro d'Italia and Tour de France winner Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers), Ivan Sosa (Movistar) and Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) in recent years.

Now, though, they are looking further forward as a team with their new sponsor of Drone Hopper, a Spanish aerospace company that designs and makes drones. The new sponsor has injected additional funds into the team, and expected growth from the company predicts more to come. 

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In an interview with Tuttobici, team boss Gianni Savio said: "We have a four-year contract [with Drone Hopper]. The growth of the team will totally depend on the growth of Drone Hopper. 

"We do not hide that the hope is to have the budget to become WorldTour in 2024. But we all know that the economic gap between a Professional and a WorldTour team has grown enormously in recent years, so being able to have a similar budget is far from easy. But we believe in it."

The jump in budget between pro continental teams and those of the WorldTour is vast with only Alpecin-Fenix and TotalEnergies likely being closest. Some teams like Ineos Grenadiers can have budgets around €40 million per year.

The Italian team boss managed to get Drone Hopper on board thanks to former rider Juan Hortelano who is now general manager of the business. He and Savio held meetings with the business CEO Pablo Flores also being keen on the sport of cycling as well as believing cycling is a "great advertising vehicle".

Androni have moved away from the predominantly Italian team for 2022 with just eight of the 22 riders coming from Italy. There will be more focus on the young South Americans such as 19-year-old Brandon Rojas and 22-year-old Didier Merchan, among others. 

But the team will have to rely on older riders to get wins with Jhonatan Restrepo, Jefferson Cepeda, Natnael Tesfatsion and new signing Eduard-Michel Grosu likely being those riders.

Savio is realistic about going for the WorldTour though: "It's almost impossible. But that's normal. "We have a budget that fluctuates between 2.5 and 2.7 million per year. 

"We have a budget that is one fifth of the least accredited WorldTour team. With passion and competence, we can reduce the gap a little, but it is very difficult to emerge at very high levels. Then, maybe, from 2024 we too will have a budget like that."

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.