Tour de France wildcards announced

ASO has revealed the names of the four teams awarded wild card invitations to this year’s race, with French teams Cofidis, Direct Energie and Fortuneo-Vital Concept, plus Bora Argon 18 of Germany securing invitations to the sport’s biggest race.

The four will be joined by the 18 WorldTour teams who are automatically invited to the Tour de France.

“It’s a selection without any surprises,” Tour director Christian Prudhomme told AFP. The fact that there were no surprises was the surprise. With ASO wielding its power of late, some unexpected selections to be of the unexpected variety. The Tour de France organizer instead kept to the script.

It also reveals just how few Pro Continental teams are equipped to race the Tour. French teams always get the preferred nod, and perhaps teams like Caja Rural, Stölting Service Group, or Rompoot-Oranje could make the argument they deserve to race, but there were no major snubs in the selection. The four wildcards will join 18 WorldTour teams to fill out the peloton for the 103rd edition in July.

The 2016 Tour de France will be the 103rd edition of the oldest Grand Tour on the calendar. After a start in Utrecht in 2015, the race will return to home shores for the opening stages, starting at the foot of Mont-Saint-Michel in the Manche department on France’s northern coast. The race last visited the picturesque area for the individual time trial in 2013, which was won by Tony Martin.

The Tour de France starts on Saturday July 2 and ends in Paris on Sunday on July 24.

2016 Tour de France teams: AG2R La Mondiale (Fra), Astana Pro Team (Kaz), BMC Racing Team (USA), Cannondale Pro Cycling Team (USA), Dimension Data (RSA), Etixx – Quick Step (Bel), FDJ (Fra), IAM Cycling (Sui), Lampre – Merida (Ita), Lotto Soudal (Bel), Movistar Team (Esp), Orica GreenEDGE (Aus), Team Giant – Alpecin (Ger), Team Katusha (Rus), Team Lotto NL – Jumbo (Nld), Team Sky (GBR), Tinkoff (Rus), Trek – Segafredo (USA). Wildcards: Bora – Argon 18 (Ger), Cofidis- Solutions Crédits (Fra), Direct Energie (Fra), Fortunéo – Vital Concept (Fra).

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