Tour de France organiser announces 22 teams for 2010 race

Armstrong, Evans assured spots as Dutch Professional Continental teams are shut out

Garmin-Transitions, Team RadioShack, BMC Racing Team, Team Sky, Katusha and Cervelo TestTeam have received wild card invitations to the 2010 Tour de France, race organisers Amaury Sports Organisation announced Tuesday.

These six squads join the 16 teams which were automatically selected under a September 2008 agreement with the UCI.

Neither Skil-Shimano nor Vacansoleil was selected. Both Dutch Professional Continental teams had hoped to ride, since the Tour starts in the Netherlands on July 3. New French team Saur-Sojasun also missed out.

The wild card invitations mean the Tour de France will feature all the big names in the peloton, including seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong (RadioShack), World Champion Cadel Evans (BMC), Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Transitions) who finished fourth overall in 2008 and Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), who was fourth last year.

The 16 automatically-selected teams under the 2008 agreement are: Team Milram, Quick Step, Omega Pharma-Lotto, Team Saxo Bank, Caisse d'Epargne, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Footon-Servetto, HTC-Columbia, AG2R La Mondiale, Bbox Bouygues Telecom, Cofidis, Francaise des Jeux, Lampre-Farnese, Liquigas-Doimo, Astana, and Rabobank.

Wild card invitations: Garmin-Transitions, Team RadioShack, BMC Racing Team, Team Sky, Katusha, and Cervelo TestTeam.

As of next year, the selection process will change under an agreement between the organisers of the three Grand Tours and the UCI. The first 17 teams in the world ranking as of the end of the 2010 season will automatically be invited to the 2011 Tour de France and the organisers can issue wildcard invitations to fill the remaining places.

This year, ASO was required to invite the 18 ProTour teams from 2008. Two of those teams - Crédit Agricole and Gerolsteiner - no longer exist, so the remaining 16 ProTour squads from 2008 were invited, freeing up two extra spaces for team invitations.

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