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Giro Follows Tour, Inviting 18 Pro Tour Teams

There's nothing strange about the Giro inviting only 18 of 20 Pro Tour teams; at this point it's pretty much the going assumption that all ASO, Unipublic and RCS races will issue 18 automatic invitations to the Pro Tour (though it's not clear whether the two left off are the latecomers Astana and Unibet, or teams TBD). But the statements of Angelo Zomegnan confirm what we should have expected.

A little stranger is that Zomegnan is in love with Tinkoff. Tyler Hamilton's case has been one of the sport's biggest bummers, and Danilo Hondo is sitting out his own doping charge, so Tinkoff, however loaded with money and stars, represents the fast-and-loose approach to proceeding in the era of Operacion Puerto. Just to be clear, this isn't a post about anyone's ethical behavior, it's about a team that isn't shying away from signing names who've been named, regardless of Christian Prudhomme's hysterical threats and people's ideas about doubling down on past suspensions. Tinkoff is challenging the system, and they've got the connections in Italy to do just fine.

Highlight of the Tinkoff presentation: Rodrigo Taddei and Alberto Aquilani of AS Roma showing up. Aquilani, for you non-soccer types, is the next big thing, mark my word.