The 2009 Giro d'Italia is setting up to be a pre-Tour battle with riders such as Lance Armstrong (Astana), Ivan Basso (Liquigas), Carlos Sastre (Cervelo), Denis Menchov (Rabobank), Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) and Chrisitan Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) all supposedly appearing on their time trial bikes at the start line in Venice on May 9th.
Last year's winner, Alberto Contador of Team Astana is choosing not to defend his title, instead focusing on the Tour de France.
Giro race organizer RCS relseased the first 20 of 22 teams that are invited to attend the event starting in Venice on May 9th and finishing in Rome on May 31st.
However, there are some big names in the professional world that are missing out, such as Emanuele Sella, and Matteo Priamo both from the CSF Navigare Team. Also Italian national road champion Filippo Simonei from the Flaminia Bossini Docce Team will miss out.
Emanuele Sella, the winner of three stages and the overall King of the Mountains competition in last year's Giro subsequently tested positive for the performance booster EPO CERA, and this negative image for his team CSF Navigare resulted in their non-invitation this year.
Other teams that missed the original list include Pro-Tour teams Cofidis, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Française des Jeux, Fuji-Servetto as well as Pro Continental Team Barloworld.
Fuji-Servetto was affected in 2008 by the doping offenses of climbing sensation Riccardo Riccò and Leonardo Piepoli. RCS Sport has also denied them invitation to two other major events they organize, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-Sanremo.
RCS reserves the right to invite and deny and team they choose based on the image said team brings to the sport. The major prerequisite to be invited this year however is that all of the invited teams must be participating in the Biological Passport program.
Giro organizers may invite two additional teams, but they will be announced at a later date.
The Preliminary list of 2009 Giro d'Italia Teams:
Acqua & Sapone-Caffe’ Mokambo
Ag2r La Mondiale
Bbox Bouygues Telecom
Cervélo Test Team
LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini
Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni–Androni Giocattoli
Team Columbia–High Road