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Dauphiné: four teams invited

It was picturesque racing in the French Alps.

It was picturesque racing in the French Alps. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The organisers of the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré have released their wildcard invitations for this year's race. In addition to the 18 ProTour teams, four Professional Continental teams have received an official invitation: Bbox Bouygues Telecom, Cervélo TestTeam, Cofidis and Saur-Sojasun.

There will thus be 22 teams to line up at the start of this year's Dauphiné, taking place from June 6-13, in Evian-les-Bains. The parcours will take the riders into the Alps and includes such prestigious climbs as L'Alpe d'Huez, the summit finish of stage six.

This year's race will again be used as a major preparation event for the Tour de France in July and will feature the Tour's defending champion Alberto Contador (Astana), as well as Dauphiné Libéré 2009 victor Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne). Further top contenders include Denis Menchov (Rabobank).

American Lance Armstrong (Radioshack) has instead chosen to finalise his prep at the Tour de Suisse. The Schleck brothers at Saxo Bank, Andy and Fränk, will also be in the Swiss event, as well as Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and Jakob Fuglsang (also Saxo Bank).

Other Tour de France favourites such as Cadel Evans (BMC), Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Carlos Sastre (Cervélo) will not race any of these June events as they are currently participating in the Giro d'Italia.