Irvine to miss Giro d’Italia as his team fails to get land wild card invitation

Scratch race world champion’s hopes dashed when team missed out on wildcard

Scratch world champion Martyn Irvine will have to miss out on competing in this year’s Giro d’Italia as his  UnitedHealthcare team was passed over for a wildcard invitation to the race. 
Photograph: Alexander Nemenov AFP/Getty Images

Scratch world champion Martyn Irvine will have to miss out on competing in this year’s Giro d’Italia as his UnitedHealthcare team was passed over for a wildcard invitation to the race. Photograph: Alexander Nemenov AFP/Getty Images

Fri, Jan 17, 2014, 01:00

Scratch race world champion Martyn Irvine’s hope of riding this year’s Giro d’Italia was dashed yesterday when his UnitedHealthcare team was passed over for a wildcard invitation to the race.

Dan Martin (Garmin Sharp), Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff Saxo) and Philip Deignan (Sky) are each expected to take part in the event, with their teams assured of automatic selection as they are each WorldTour squads.

Irvine has closer links to the race, though, with the event’s start on May 9th in Belfast occurring close to his home town of Newtownards.

That plus the fact he now lives very close to the route on stage three to Dublin was something his team hoped will secure it one of the three places up for grabs yesterday.

However, the race organisers opted for three teams with Italian links; Bardiani CSF, Yellow Fluo and Team Colombia, a squad featuring riders from the Latin American country, but under Italian management. Androni-Venezuela earned selection as they won the Italian Cup series last year.

Controversial
The selection of Yellow Fluo is a controversial one as last year the team – which was called Vini Fantini-Selle Italia – had two EPO positives connected to the race. The first was from a pre-race control on Danilo di Luca, with that news emerging during the event and causing his disqualification. The second concerned stage winner Mauro Santambrogio.

Irvine is continuing his buildup to the defence of his world title next month. He won’t ride this weekend’s final round of the track World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico, but Ireland will be represented by double European under 23 championship bronze medallist Ryan Mullen and World Cup bronze medallist Caroline Ryan, who will ride the women’s scratch race today, while Mullen will compete in the men’s points race and then the individual pursuit tomorrow.

The world championships will be held in Cali, Colombia, between February 26th and March 2nd.