Vuelta a España confirms wildcard teams for 2011 race
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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Vuelta a España confirms wildcard teams for 2011 race

by Shane Stokes at 6:38 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
Geox TMC has second chance to take a Grand Tour

Vuelta 2011Following what was a disappointing Giro d’Italia campaign for the Geox TMC team, the new squad will have a chance to redeem its season in the Vuelta a España. The organisers of the Spanish event has today confirmed the four wildcard teams for this year’s race, which begins in Benidorm on August 20th and runs until September 11th.

The team of Denis Menchov and Carlos Sastre will join Andalucia Caja Granada, Geox-TMC, Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne and Skil – Shimano as the invited teams in the race.

Those four will be part of a 22 team lineup; the others are the eighteen UCI ProTeams, namely Ag2r La Mondiale, BMC Racing Team, Euskaltel-Euskadi, HTC-Highroad, Katusha Team, Lampre – ISD, Leopard Trek, Liquigas-Cannondale, Movistar Team, Omega Pharma-Lotto, Pro Team Astana, Quickstep, Rabobank Cycling Team, Saxo Bank Sungard, Sky Procycling, Team Garmin-Cervélo, Team Radioshack and Vacansoleil-DCM.

The Vuelta a España organisers has made it clear that this list could however change if any of those teams are implicated in doping-related activities. “Unipublic reserves the right to modify this list if important circumstances are advising it to do so, always keeping the ethical responsibilities of the cyclist and his sport quality,” it stated.

The race will be of strong importance to Geox TMC, which was set up with a big budget and signed double Vuelta champion Denis Menchov and 2008 Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre. It pushed for a ProTeam place but was passed over. Attempts to gain an invite to the Tour de France fell on deaf ears and with the Giro campaign being a quiet one, the Vuelta is now the only chance for the team to fight for a Grand Tour win this year.

Both Menchov and Sastre were far off their top form in Italy. Two years after winning the race, the Russian was eighth, twelve minutes and 18 seconds behind Alberto Contador. Sastre suffered with illness in the run up to the race and admitted he wasn’t in his best shape. He finished 30th overall.

Both riders now have over two months to get into peak condition for the Vuelta.


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