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by Shane Stokes
January 26, 2017
Photography by Cor Vos
Just over five months before the start of the Tour de France, race organiser ASO has named the wildcard teams for the event. Opting, as expected, for a majority of home squads, it has named French teams Cofidis Solutions Crédits, Direct Energie and Fortuneo – Vital Concept, as well as the Belgian Wanty – Groupe Gobert team.
All four are Pro Continental squads and consequently require invites to the top tier races.
The 18 WorldTour teams have an automatic right of participation in the race, making for a total of 22 squads at the start in Dusseldorf on July 1.
Those WorldTour squads are French teams AG2R La Mondiale and FDJ, Team Sky (Britain), Astana Pro Team (Kazakhstan), Bahrain – Merida (Bahrain), BMC Racing Team, Cannondale Drapac Pro Cycling Team and Trek-Segafredo (all USA), Bora – Hansgrohe and Team Sunweb (both Germany), Lotto-Soudal and QuickStep Floors (both Belgium), Movistar Team (Spain), Orica – Scott (Australia), Team Dimension Data (South Africa), Team Katusha – Alpecin (Switzerland), Team Lotto NL – Jumbo (Netherlands) and UAE Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates).
ASO has also named wildcard teams for Paris-Nice, which runs from March 5 – 12.
Those invited again include Cofidis Solutions Crédits, Direct Energie and Fortuneo – Vital Concept, with a fourth French team – Delko Marseille Provence KTM – joining them.
Three of those four gain an invite to the Critérium du Dauphiné (June 4 – 11). Cofidis Solutions Crédits, Direct Energie and Delko Marseille Provence KTM will ride, while Fortuneo – Vital Concept makes way for Wanty – Groupe Gobert.