Froome will not defend his Critérium International title

ASO announce 15 teams to take part in two-day race

Chris Froome will not be defending his Critérium International title, after Sky were not named as one of the teams taking part this year.

The British team finished first and second in the 2013 edition, with Froome and Richie Porte. Sky rode last year’s race to prepare for the Tour de France, which started in Corsica. However, they chose not to apply for a place in 2014, opting to send Froome to the Volta a Catalunya as he works towards his Tour de France defence.

Last year’s third place finisher Tejay van Garderen won’t be there either, as BMC also decided not to return to the race. There will still be a strong line-up, with eight WorldTour teams among the 15 invitees (one less than lest year).

Vincenzo Nibali is expected to headline the race with his Astana team. It will be the Italian’s first appearance at the two-day race. Andy Schleck has also announced his intention to take part, as he continues to try and return to his best form. He will be joined by his brother Frank, riding for the Trek Factory racing team.

Returning to the race are Tinkoff-Saxo, Giant-Shimano, AG2R-La Mondiale,, Europcar and Garmin-Sharp.

Pro Continental team NetApp-Endura will make their debut in March. The German outfit is taking part in a number of ASO races this season was awarded a wildcard entry into the Tour de France. They are joined by three other Pro Continental teams: Colombia, IAM Cycling and Cofidis.

Places have also been awarded to three French Continental teams; Bretagne-Séché Environment, BigMat-Auber 93 and La Pomme Marseille 13.

The Critérium International takes place between Sunday, March 29 and Monday, March 30. The first day will consist of an 89km road stage in the morning and a 7km time trial in the afternoon. It closes with a 176km ride from Porto-Vecchio to the summit finish on the Col de l’Ospedale.

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