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by Dane Cash
January 8, 2020
Photography by Cor Vos
Tour de France organizers have handed out the two wildcard invites that bring the count of teams set to race to a final total of 22.
After Total Direct Energie earned automatic participation in the race due to the team’s position in team rankings at the end of 2019, the Tour had two more invites to give to ProTeams (the name that has replaced Pro Continental teams). On Tuesday, organizers announced that Arkéa-Samsic and B&B Hotels-Vital Concept had been invited to fill the last two spots.
The invitation of Arkéa-Samsic secures Nairo Quintana’s participation in the race after the Colombian climber moved to the French squad this transfer season following eight years with Movistar. Arkéa also counts Warren Barguil and Nacer Bouhanni on its roster. The team has made the French Grand Tour start every season since the 2014 Tour.
For B&B Hotels, 2020 will mark the team’s debut Tour start three years into the team’s existence.
Missing out on the Tour after three straight years of receiving invites is the Circus–Wanty Gobert squad.
Previously, the Tour handed out four discretionary invites to wildcard teams each year, but changes in the ranks of the WorldTour and in the UCI’s rules system brought that number down to two. Cofidis’s elevation to the top division brings the count of teams in cycling’s WorldTour ranks to 19, up one from last season, while recent reforms stipulate that the top-ranked ProTeam earns an automatic invite to all WorldTour events.