Cycling

Giro organizers invite 23 teams to May 7-29 race

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MILAN (AP)

Alberto Contador's Saxo Bank-Sungard squad highlights the list of 23 teams invited to race the Giro d'Italia.

Contador plans to make the Giro his first major three-week race since the Spanish cycling federation cleared the Tour de France champion of doping.

The Lance Armstrong-backed RadioShack squad was also invited Monday, as was the Dutch team Vacansoleil-DCM, despite recent doping scandals involving two of its riders - Riccardo Ricco and Ezequiel Mosquera.

Armstrong clashed with race director Angelo Zomegnan when he raced his only Giro in 2009, but both RadioShack and Vacansoleil are UCI Pro Teams that gain automatic invites.

There will be 207 riders in the May 7-29 race, with organizers receiving permission from the UCI to exceed the 200-rider limit. In exchange, RCS Sport says it is open to collaborating with the UCI on doping inquiries.

Beginning in Turin and ending in Milan, this year's race celebrates the 150th anniversary of Italy's unification.

Each team can field nine riders and will have to supply a list of 12 possible entrants by April 7.

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