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Bbox and Cofidis snubbed by Amstel organisers

Cofidis and Bbox patrol the front of the peloton

Cofidis and Bbox patrol the front of the peloton (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)

Pro Continental squads Bbox Bouygues Telecom and Cofidis have been overlooked by organisers of Amstel Gold Race after they missed out on the final wild card invitations offered for the Dutch Classic.

The two French teams, who lost their ProTour status at the end of 2009, have made way for ProTour newcomers Team Sky and RadioShack in the final list of 24 teams that will compete in the 45th edition of the race on April 18. It will be the first time since 2004 that Bbox and Cofidis will not take part in the race.

On Monday, Amstel Race Director Leo van Vliet announced Cervélo TestTeam, BMC Racing Team, Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator and Landbouwkrediet as the final four wild card teams invited to the race. BMC replaces Italian team Androni-Giocatolli, who had competed in the event for the first time in 2009.

Cofidis' exclusion is particularly surprising given their strong start to the 2010 season. The team are the current leaders of the International Cycling Union's (UCI) Europe Tour rankings, with Samuel Dumoulin the leader of the individual ranking.

Sky and RadioShack will now join the other 16 ProTour squads will take part in the event, with Dutch Pro Continental teams Skil-Shimano and Vacansoleil earlier installed in two of the six wild card places on offer.

BMC's inaugural inclusion also opens the possibility for last year's top-three to return to the race. Russian Champion Sergei Ivanov (Katusha) won the 2009 edition, ahead of BMC's Karsten Kroon (then Saxo Bank) and local hero Robert Gesink (Rabobank).

The 24 teams that will participate in the 45th edition of the Amstel Gold Race are:

Ag2R-La Mondiale
Caisse d’Epargne
Française des Jeux
Lampre-Farnese Vini
Omega Pharma-Lotto
Quick Step
Saxo Bank
Team Sky
BMC Racing Team
Cervélo TestTeam
Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator

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