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Brailsford delighted with Team Sky Tour de France invitation

Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford was delighted to hear the news that the British team had secured one of the 22 places in this year's Tour de France.

As a new squad in the peloton, Team Sky were not part of the 2008 agreement that automatically gave 16 teams an invitation to the Tour, and had to convince Tour de France organisers ASO that they deserved a wild card invitation.

With the Tour de France starting in Rotterdam, Team Sky faced competition from Dutch teams Vacansoleil and Skil-Shimano, and new French team Saur-Sojasun, but secured a wild card invitation along with Lance Armstrong's RadioShack team, BMC, Garmin-Transitions, Katusha and Cervelo Test Team.

"Riding the Tour de France was a major goal for us in our inaugural season. We've been competing for a place in the world's biggest road race in the early part of the season.  Now our second objective is to perform in the Tour in July," Brailsford told Cyclingnews after hearing the news.

"I want to thank ASO for showing their confidence in the team and we'll be do everything we can to create an exciting race. They've given us a great opportunity to take a British team to the Tour de France."

"I think one of the factors that went into the mix for selection was that we've made it clear we are a clean team and that we will try to win the Tour de France clean. I also want to thank Jeremy Darroch at BSkyB, Sky Italia and News Corporation for believing and backing the team and for their support of cycling in the UK."

"Obviously the credit for getting the place in the Tour de France goes firstly to the riders. They earned it with their great early season performances and now they can look forward to being at the start of the Tour in Rotterdam."

Wiggins to lead Team Sky at the Tour

The Team Sky line-up for the Tour de France will be spearheaded by Bradley Wiggins, who finished fourth last year, while riding for the Garmin team.

Team Sky headhunted Wiggins during the winter to try and achieve their stated goal of producing a British Tour de France winner within the next five years.

Also expected to be part of the Team Sky Tour de France line-up are Thomas Lofkvist and Edvald Boasson Hagen. The talented Norwegian is expected to make his Tour de France debut after completing the Giro d'Italia in 2009.

"One of our core strategies is based around the general classification for the Tour de France and Bradley Wiggins is the guy who can hopefully do it. He's working hard for that goal and so is everyone in the team," Brailsford said.

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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.