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