Mathieu van der Poel’s team have been invited to race Strade-Bianche and Milan-San Remo, giving the superstar rider a place in the famed Italian races.
Van der Poel, a remarkable talent in cyclocross, mountain biking and road cycling, had planned to ride both one-day Classics but needed a formal invitation for his team to do so.
RCS, the race organiser behind the Giro d’Italia as well as Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo, has published names of the teams given wildcard places in four of its six WorldTour races.
Van der Poel’s Alpecin-Fenix team will be able to race both one-day events but have not received an invitation to the Giro d’Italia.
In Milan-San Remo, Total Direct Energie and Circus-Wanty Gobert have both qualified for the event through their UCI points, while Alpecin-Fenix, Gazprom-Rusvelo, Arkéa-Samsic and Vini-Zabu-KTM have all been invited to race.
For Strade Bianche, Circus-Wanty Gobert have qualified by ranking and wildcard places went to Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, Bardiani CSF Faizanè, Alpecin-Fenix, B&B Hotels-Vital Concept, and Arkéa-Samsic.
For the Giro d’Italia, the wildcard places went to Italian Professional Continental outfits Androni, Bardiani, and Vini-Zabu-KTM.
Finally in Tirreno-Adriatico, Total Direct Energie will race thanks to their ranking, with Androni, Bardiani, Gazprom and Arkéa all filling out the wildcard places.
Van der Poel’s status as a superstar have given a huge boost to his Professional Continental team, ensuring them invitations to some of the biggest races.
However the team had been angling for a Grand Tour ride this season, particularly the Vuelta a España, but it looks as though they may miss out on a three-week race this year, delaying Van der Poel’s Grand Tour debut.
But the 24-year-old is expected to be invited to all the major Classics, including the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Amstel Gold Race (which he won in unforgettable fashion last season) and Flèche Wallone.