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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
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The IAM Cycling team
ASO invites three French squads to Grande Boucle
New Swiss squad IAM Cycling suffered disappointment on Saturday when it was passed over for a wildcard invitation for the Tour de France, with the three available berths going to French outfits Europcar, Cofidis and Sojasun.
“We are disappointed not to be selected for the Tour de France, mainly because we have the talent and resources,” general manager Serge Beucherie said. “Even though we have not won a great deal, we are on a sporting level to compete at the Tour.”
With Heinrich Haussler leading the line in one-day races, IAM Cycling secured wildcard invitations to the Classics, and also received places up at Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie and the Tour de Suisse.
While those invitations and some aggressive performances this spring gave grounds for optimism vis à vis a Tour place, IAM Cycling has won just two stage races this season – the Tour Méditerranéen through Thomas Lofkvist and stage 1 of the Circuit de la Sarthe with Matteo Pelucchi.
In the end, ASO decided to continue with its recently policy of assigning its wildcards to French squads and IAM Cycling missed out. All eleven Tour de France wildcards handed out in the last three years have gone to home-based teams.
“We of course understand the dilemma the organizers face. They receive endless requests but have only a limited number of spaces,” IAM founder Michel Thétaz said. “We respect their decision and will redouble our efforts to be included in the line-up in the coming seasons."
IAM Cycling will have to be active in the transfer market if it is to move up to WorldTour status in 2014 and guarantee automatic entry into the Tour de France. Earlier in the week, Thétaz told Tages Anzeiger that his team would be interested in securing the services of Fabian Cancellara for next season but admitted that it might be difficult to entice him from RadioShack-Leopard when his contract expires at the end of the year.
“Of course we have often talked – the constructive dialogue with Armin [Meier, Cancellara’s agent] has never been broken,” Thétaz said. “Fabian is a great, great rider but we are not a very big team and all riders want a big team. We are only a Swiss team for him, not a big team. That is the challenge.”