No Brits at the 2015 Giro d’Italia as RCS Sport release provisional startlist

Alberto Contador and Richie Porte headline list which is devoid of British riders for first time since 1999

There are set be no British riders at the Giro d’Italia for the first time since the turn of the century, after organisers RCS Sport unveiled the provisional startlist.

The 22 provisional nine-man teams for this year’s Corsa Rosa, which starts near San Remo on Saturday May 9, are headlined by Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Richie Porte (Team Sky) but no Brits appear on the startlist.

In-form Porte, who has won Paris-Nice, the Tour of Catalunya and Giro del Trentino this year, is backed by a strong Team Sky squad including new-boy Leopold Konig.

In-form Richie Porte leads Team Sky, but the Australian will do so without any British team-mates (pic: Sirotti)

Mikel Nieve, Sebastian Henao and David Lopez will also lend support in the mountains, alongside the Belarussian duo of Vasil Kiryienka and Kanstantin Siutsou.

Italians Salvatore Puccio and sprinter Elia Viviani complete the Team Sky line-up, with most of their British in action at the Tour de Romandie instead – Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, who claimed the yellow jersey after Sky won the opening day’s team time trial, Ian Stannard, Luke Rowe and British champion Peter Kennaugh are all in Switzerland.

Ben Swift, meanwhile, is targeting success in his home county at this weekend’s inaugural Tour de Yorkshire.

Orica-GreenEDGE’s British trio Simon and Adam Yates and new signing Adam Blythe are also not selected – the Yates brothers have both been slated for the Tour de France instead.

Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) was also never expected to ride the Giro d’Italia, and neither was 2013 stage winner Alex Dowsett (Movistar), whose UCI Hour Record attempt is this weekend.

Birmingham-born Irishman Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin), who crashed out of the first stage of last year’s race in Belfast is also missing – as are Team Sky’s Irish duo Nicolas Roche and Philip Deignan.

Contador, meanwhile, who stars as favourite in the absence of defending champion Nairo Quintana (Movistar) can count on former winner Ivan Basso for support.

Super-domestique Roman Kreuziger and Michael Rogers – a two-time stage winner last year – also offer strong support, as do Jesus Hernandez, Sergio Paulinho, Ivan Rovny and Grand Tour veteran Matteo Tosatto.

Alberto Contador leads a fiercely strong Tinkoff-Saxo squad, which also boasts Michael Rogers, Ivan Basso and Roman Kreuziger (pic: Luca Bettini/Tinkoff-Saxo)

Other big-name contenders on the provisional startlist are, as expected, Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-QuickStep), Fabio Aru (Astana) and Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale).

Former world champions Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing), sprint ace Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and 2011 winner Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale-Garmin) are also set to race.

Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE), who wore the pink jersey for much of the first week last year, will be another rider to watch while Adam Hansen (Lotto-Soudal) is set to line up for his 11th straight Grand Tour.

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