Paris-Tours organisers A.S.O. have announced the teams that will take part in the French classic on Sunday October 10. The line-up will be made up of 14 ProTour teams, 7 Pro Continental teams and 3 Continental teams. The race is no-longer part of the UCI World Calendar but is ranked a Hors Category race and part of the UCI Europe Tour.
French teams dominate the start list. The ProTour squads AG2R-La Mondiale and Francaise des Jeux are joined by BBox Bouygues Telecom, Cofidis and Saur-Sojasun, while three Continental teams are also from France: BigMat Auber, Bretagne-Schuller and Roubaix-Lille Métropole.
The Omega Pharma-Lotto team of 2008 and 2009 winner Philippe Gilbert will again ride the season’s penultimate classic. Vacansoleil have also been granted a place on the race, along with RadioShack. The American squad had initially been omitted from the line-up for the following weekend’s Giro di Lombardia before a dispensation was given to race organisers to invite a 26th team, but they encountered no obstacle from ASO for Paris-Tours.
The race takes place just a week after the world championships in Australia and Mark Cavendish has already confirmed that he will not take part in the sprinters’ classic, although his HTC-Columbia is among the selected teams.
Contrary to reports circulating at last year's event, the organisers confirmed that the race will again finish on the 2.7km-long Avenue de Grammont in Tours, but the opportunists will have ample opportunity to follow in Gilbert’s wheel tracks and upset the sprinters in the run-in to the finish. After crossing the Loire at Amboise, the race tackles the Côte de Beau Soleil, Côte de l’Epan and Côte du Petit Pas d’Ane in the closing 11km. The final climb comes 4km from the finish and the finale in the streets of Tours should see a nail-biting pursuit between the sprinters’ teams and the escapees.
The invited teams are:
Team Saxo Bank
Française des Jeux
BBox Bouygues Telecom