Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has described selecting the wildcards for the 2013 Tour de France as a “heart-breaking process, rather than a brainteaser,” with numerous squads he would like to select and see racing all pushing for a spot in cycling’s blue riband event.
While the 19 teams from the WorldTour all gain automatic selection to the Tour de France this year, Prudhomme told Cyclingnews on Wednesday that a decision on the remaining 2013 squads is expected shortly.
“We could have never been closer to an announcement,” Prudhomme said, without being willing to say when exactly it would be, “and that would be a lot easier with four wildcard teams to choose, without a doubt. It’s a heartbreaker, rather than a brainteaser.”
The Tour has one berth less to assign this year because of the automatic inclusion of 19, rather than the usual 18, WorldTour squads, following the last-minute addition of Katusha in the WorldTour. “If Katusha had been amongst the original 18, it would have been easier,” Prudhomme said.
“The choice will be at the organiser’s discretion, just the same as it would be in any sport-tennis for example,” Prudhomme added, although he said the usual ethical and sporting criteria will apply to the selection.
While the Giro d’Italia’s selection of wildcards was made weeks ago, cycling’s third Grand Tour, the Vuelta a España, also has yet to reveal which teams it will choose for 2013.