Tour de France organiser announces 22 team invitations
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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tour de France organiser announces 22 team invitations

by Ben Atkins at 10:16 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Few surprises as French teams given all four wildcards; almost identical squads invited to Paris Nice

tour de franceTour de France organiser ASO has announced the list of 22 teams that have been invited to the 98th edition cycling’s biggest race this July; it also released the list of teams invited to Paris-Nice.  Both lists are made up of the 18 ProTeams, in compliance with International Cycling Union (UCI) WorldTour (previously ProTour) regulations, with the other four teams invited to both races made up of Professional Continental teams from the sport’s second division; unsurprisingly, all four “wild card” teams are French, although they are not the same ones.

With just one French ProTeam this year, in AG2R La Mondiale, ASO has awarded a wild card to each of the teams that previously held a seat at the top table. Cofidis, FDJ and Europcar (previously known as Bbox Bouygues Telecom) have been present at every Tour in recent years and are homes to most of the top French cyclists. It was expected that these three teams would be invited to the Tour, and they have also been invited to Paris-Nice.

The fourth wild card goes to a different team in each race; Saur-Sojasun was an outsider for an invitation to last year’s Tour and its patience has been rewarded this time; the final Paris-Nice berth though, goes to first year ProConti team Bretagne-Schuller.

Very few are surprised but some will be disappointed

While it was expected that teams from France would get at least three of the wild card spots this time, there will be some foreign teams that are disappointed to miss out.

Skil-Shimano has spent much of the off season packing its roster with French riders in an effort to secure its second invitation, after that of 2009, and will doubtless to be disappointed once more. Androni Giocattoli, under an agreement made in September 2008 would have been assured a place thanks to its performances last season; in truth though, the team never seriously expected this agreement to apply since it has been superseded by the WorldTour.

Probably the most disappointed team though will be Geox-TMC, although it had already been rumoured that the team, which counts 2008 winner Carlos Sastre and last year’s third place finisher Denis Menchov in its number, would miss out. Sastre and Menchov have already been talking about targeting the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España this season anyway, but this confirmation, after being denied a ProTeam place, will likely not please the Spanish registered team at all.

ProTeams receiving automatic invitations to both races according to UCI WorldTour regulations:
OmegaPharma-Lotto (Bel)
Quick Step Cycling Team (Bel)
Saxo Bank-SunGard (Den)
Euskaltel-Euskadi (Spa)
Movistar Team (Spa)
AG2R La Mondiale (Fra)
Sky Procycling (GBr)
Lampre - ISD (Ita)
Liquigas-Cannondale (Ita)
Pro Team Astana (Kaz)
Team Leopard-Trek (Lux)
Rabobank Cycling Team (Ned)
Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team (Ned)
Katusha Team (Rus)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
HTC-Highroad (USA)
Team Garmin-Cervélo (USA)
Team Radioshack (USA)

ProContinental Teams awarded wild cards for the Tour de France:
Cofidis, le credit en ligne (Fra)
FDJ (Fra)
Saur-Sojasun (Fra)
Team Europcar (Fra)

ProContinental Teams awarded wild cards for Paris-Nice
Cofidis, le credit en ligne (Fra)
Bretagne-Schuller (Fra)
FDJ (Fra)
Team Europcar (Fra)


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