Katusha status leaves only three invites
Tour de France organiser ASO has announced that six teams are in the running for the three wild-card invitations to the 2013 edition of the race. They are the Professional Continental teams IAM Cycling, NetApp-Endura, Bretagne-Séché, Cofidis, Europcar, and Sojasun.
Historically the race has invited four wildcards with all of the elite 18 WorldTour teams receiving automatic entry into the Tour. However the situation changed when Katusha was granted WorldTour status last month by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), leaving ASO with 19 WorldTour teams to invite. CAS’s decision overruled the UCI’s Licence Commission which had declined Katusha’s entry into the top tier of the sport for ethical reason.
IAM Cycling is a new Swiss team with Heinrich Haussler and Thomas Lovkvist in their ranks. They have already enjoyed success with overall victory at the Tour Méditerranéen after Lovkivst snatched the lead on the final stage.
The NetApp-Endura squad were formed from two separate 2012 squads and have yet to win this season. Cofidis, Europcar, and Sojasun were all awarded wildcards for the 2012 Tour de France. Bretagne-Séché has yet to compete in a Tour. Each of the six teams will have a chance to appear in ASO's pre-Tour de France races, with Paris-Nice starting this weekend with Cofidis, IAM Cycling, Sojasun, and Europcar on the start list.