Katusha ignored for Giro place

Katusha have been denied a wild card entry to the Giro d'Italia to leave further doubts about the team's future.

The Russian squad, which features last season's world No 1 Joaquim Rodriguez, recently had an application for a UCI WorldTour place turned down despite some superb results in 2012.

As well as the 18 teams with automatic invites, organisers RCS announced that three Italian teams - Androni Giocattoli, Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox and Vini Fantini - plus the Colombia squad would complete the field.

RCS said Katusha was considered as a professional continental team and they were invited to race in Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo and Il Lombardia as a wild card.

Rodriguez finished second in the Giro last season, beaten by only Ryder Hesjedal, and he has said he will leave Katusha if their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport fails.

NetApp-Endura and IAM Cycling were also overlooked for wild card places in the three-week tour and Africa's first Pro Continental team MTN-Khubeka opted not to try and ride the race in it's first season.