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Cofidis, IAM Cycling, MTN Qhubeka, Caja Rural get wildcard invitations for Vuelta 2014

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The MTN - Qhubeka team

The MTN - Qhubeka team (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Sylvain Chavanel lines up for IAM Cycling in 2014.

Sylvain Chavanel lines up for IAM Cycling in 2014. (Image credit: IAM Cycling)
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The Caja Rural team in San Luis

The Caja Rural team in San Luis (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Cofidis team for 2014

The Cofidis team for 2014 (Image credit: AFP)

Cofidis, IAM Cycling, MTN Qhubeka and Caja Rural-Seguros RGA have received the four wildcard invites for the 2014 Vuelta a España.

IAM Cycling and Cofidis are also invited to the Tour de France this year, but none of the four Vuelta wildcard teams will be taking part in the Giro d'Italia.

Cofidis have had a regular spot at the Vuelta for years, with their former rider David Moncoutie securing four King of the Mountains titles from 2008 to 2011, whilst Caja Rural-Seguros RGA tick several boxes.

The Navarre-based squad are the only Spanish ProConti team, and also won a highly prestigious stage to the Lagos de Covadonga mountain top finish in 2012 with Antonio Piedra. Traditionally one of cycling’s most aggressively-minded squads, as of 2014 they have one of Spain’s top riders, Luis Leon Sanchez, in their line-up, who will lead the team in the Vuelta.

For MTN Qhubeka, the Vuelta is their first ever Grand Tour. 2013 Milan San Remo winner Gerald Ciolek, 2007 Tour de France leader and stage winner Linus Gerdemann and Sergio Pardilla, who took a stage of the Tour of Portugal last year, are amongst their best-known riders.

The Vuelta starts on August 23rd in Jerez de la Frontera and finishes on September 14th in Santiago de Compostela.

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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.