PARIS, Jan 28, 2014 (AFP) – Tour de France organizers announced on Tuesday
the final four teams invited to compete in this year’s 101st edition of the
race which begins on July 5 at Leeds in England.
French second division teams Bretagne-Seche (Brittany-Seche) and regular
participants Cofidis were included along with Swiss formation IAM and German
team Netapp, organizers confirmed.
Only the Cofidis outfit have featured on the Tour de France before while
the other trio are newcomers to a race won last year by Kenyan-born, British
rider Chris Froome.
Twenty-two teams of nine riders will be on the start line as the mythical
three week race gets set to feature in England for only the third time.
Apart from the four invited teams, the other 18 squads qualified
automatically as members of the top flight WorldTour circuit.
“The ASO (Amaury Sport Organisation, and organizing body for the Tour)
keeps a close eye on international cycling and continues to support French
cycling,” explained TDF director Christian Prudhomme.
The 2007 race began in London, the only other time the race kicked off in
the United Kingdom, where Swiss time-trial specialist Fabian Cancellara won
the prologue before former green jersey winner Robbie McEwen of Australia won
the first stage which finished in Canterbury.
The 2014 race starts in northern England for the first time with a 191km
ride to Harrogate before the second day of racing between York and Sheffield.
The peloton then make their way down to Cambridge where they will race over
159km to London on stage 3.
The rest of the 18 stages will take part in France as the pack wind their
way around the country and back to Paris for the traditional finish on the
Champs Elysees on July 27.
AG2R La Mondiale, Bretagne-Seche, Cofidis, Europcar, FDJ.fr (Francaise des
United States (3):
BMC, Garmin, Trek
Omega Pharma, Lotto
Great Britain (1):