Tour de France organiser ASO has revealed the names of the four teams awarded wild card invitations to this year’s race, with French teams Cofidis, Direct Energie and Fortuneo-Vital Concept, plus Bora Argon 18 of Germany securing invitations to the sport's biggest race.
The four will be joined by the 18 WorldTour teams who are automatically invited to the Tour de France.
"These are great news today! To be invited for the third time in a row to the worlds biggest cycling event is a big honour, and I want to thank the ASO for their trust in us," Bora Argon-18 team manager Ralph Denk said.
"For the third consecutive year, our team will participate in the biggest race in the world," said Fortuneo-Vital Concept manager Emmanuel Hubert. "It's just fantastic, wonderful, and shows the way we have done in recent years. I warmly thank the organizers Amaury Sport Organisation for confidence in us. Our goal now is to show we are credible competitors at the highest international level."
The 2016 Tour de France will be the 103rd edition of the oldest Grand Tour on the calendar. After a start in Utrecht in 2015, the race will return to home shores for the opening stages, starting at the foot of Mont-Saint-Michel in the Manche department on France’s northern coast. The race last visited the picturesque area for the individual time trial in 2013, which was won by Tony Martin.
The Tour de France starts on Saturday July 2 and ends in Paris on Sunday on July 24.
2016 Tour de France WorldTour teams: AG2R La Mondiale (Fra), Astana Pro Team (Kaz), BMC Racing Team (USA), Cannondale Pro Cycling Team (USA), Dimension Data (RSA), Etixx - Quick Step (Bel), FDJ (Fra), IAM Cycling (Sui), Lampre - Merida (Ita), Lotto Soudal (Bel), Movistar Team (Esp), Orica GreenEdge (Aus), Team Giant - Alpecin (Ger), Team Katusha (Rus), Team Lotto NL - Jumbo (Ned), Team Sky (GBr), Tinkoff (Rus), Trek – Segafredo (USA). Wildcards: Bora - Argon 18 (Ger), Cofidis- Solutions Crédits (Fra), Direct Energie (Fra), Fortunéo - Vital Concept (Fra).