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by Shane Stokes
March 2, 2016
Photography by Cor Vos
Tour de France organisers ASO have finalised the list of wildcard teams given invites to this year’s race, with four squads being handed berths in the event.
French teams Cofidis, Direct Energie and Fortuneo – Vital Concept have been given a green light to take part, as has the German squad Bora – Argon 18.
In addition to that the 18 WorldTour teams get an automatic entry as per UCI rules. Consequently, the four named today will be joined by AG2R La Mondiale, FDJ (France), BMC Racing Team, Cannondale Pro Cycling Team and Trek – Segafredo (USA), Astana Pro Team (Kazakhstan), Dimension Data (South Africa), Etixx – Quick Step and Lotto Soudal (Belgium), IAM Cycling (Switzerland), Lampre – Merida (Italy), Movistar Team (Spain), Orica GreenEdge (Australia), Team Giant – Alpecin (Germany), Team Katusha and Tinkoff (Russia), Team Lotto NL – Jumbo (Netherlands) and Team Sky (Great Britain).
The four wildcards were predicted by many to get the nod. They were also given invites to last year’s race, although Direct Energie and Fortuneo – Vital Concept were sponsored then by Europcar and Bretagne–Séché Environnement.
MTN-Qhubeka was given a fifth wildcard slot, but has since moved up to the WorldTour under the Dimension Data name.
This year’s race runs from July 2 to 24.