No Giro d'Italia wildcard for Androni Giocattoli with Gazprom-Rusvelo surprise inclusion

Gazprom-Rusvelo gains an invite to the Giro d'Italia at Androni Giocattoli's expense, with Bardiani CSF, Nippo-Vino Fantini and Southeast-Venezuela also invited

Sergey Firsanov (Rusvelo) comes second at the 2015 Tre Valli Varesine (Watson)
(Image credit: Watson)

Russia will have three teams at the Giro d'Italia in May, as Tinkoff and Katusha are joined by wildcards Gazprom-Rusvelo in the race.

Rusvelo's inclusion is something of a surprise, with perennial Italian wildcards Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec missing out for the first time since 2008.

The Italian team were suspended for 30 days by the UCI in 2015 after two of their riders, Davide Appollonio and Fabio Tabore, tested positive for performance enhancing drugs.

Rusvelo also had their doping issues, with five positive results between 2013 and 2015, with the team suspending itself for a time.

Organiser Mauro Vegni said: "In this year's selections, in particular those for the Giro d'Italia, we wanted to give space to our national movement, but that doesn't need to be the only factor that we are obliged to consider. The international development of all our races remains one of the cornerstones of our strategy and guided us in the final choice of the wild cards."

Giro regulars Bardiani-CSF, Nippo - Vini Fantini and Southeast-Venezuela return, with Southeast gaining an invite by winning the Italian Cup in 2015.

Organiser RCS Sport also announced the wildcards for the other races it organises in the spring, with Androni invited to both Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo.

Giro d'Italia wildcards

Bardiani CSF (Ita)

Gazprom-Rusvelo (Rus)

Nippo-Vini Fantini (Ita)

Southeast-Venezuela (Ita)

Tirreno-Adriatico wildcards

Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec (Ita)

Bardiani CSF (Ita)

Bora-Argon 18 (Ger)

Caja Rural-Seguros RGA (Esp)

CCC Sprandi Polkowice (Pol)

Milan-San Remo wildcards

Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec (Ita)

Bardiani CSF (Ita)

Bora-Argon 18 (Ger)

CCC Sprandi Polkowice (Pol)

Cofidis (Fra)

Southeast-Venezuela (Ita)

Team Novo Nordisk (USA)

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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.