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Tour de France - Wild Cards! UPDATED!
 
By Podofdonny
Date: 2/27/2004
Tour de France - Wild Cards! UPDATED!
 

Tour de France – Wild Cards

ASO organisation have announced the selections for the Tour de France 2004.14 teams have already qualified they are:-


Germany: T-Mobile, Gerolsteiner.
Belgium: Quick Step.
Denmark: CSC.
Spain: Baléares, Euskaltel, Liberty.
United States: US Postal.
France: Cofidis, fdjeux.com.
Italy: Alessio, Fassa Bortolo, Saeco.
Holland: Rabobank

As usual the battle for the remaining 8 places is over subscribed with more teams wishing for a place than is available. The earlier date for selection of the wild card places is to allow teams the chance to prepare their programme for the Tour if selected, or make alternative plans if they are not. However it also has not allowed teams the chance to show their 2004 form so once again teams are at the mercy of the selection committee.


Five teams seem almost certain to be selected, they are,

Phonak(Hamilton, Sevilla),

AG2R (Brochard, Kirsipuu),

La Boulangère (Beloki, Rous, Chavanel)

Crédit Agricole (Moreau, Hushovd)

Lotto (McEwen, Verbrugghe).

In addition three teams from the first Division have not applied to race - Saunier Duval, Bankgiroloterij and Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie .

This leaves ten teams chasing just three places – 8 teams from the 1st Division who are: RAGT Semences - MG Rover, Chocolat Jacques, Lampre, Landbouwkrediet, Milaneza, Relax, Mr. Bookmaker and De Nardi and two from the second division: Kelme and Domina Vacanze.

RAGT Semences - MG Rover Christophe Rinero the former Polka dot jersey winner leads the French teams hopes for selection. However the team has lost potential stage winners like Jean-Patrick Nazon and Patrice Halgand. With five French teams potentially included in the race will Mr Le Blanc see it necessary to include a 6th? A current opinion pole at the French website Velo101 indicates that a sizeable minority (40%) feel that six French teams is one French team to many.

Lampre Francesco Casagrande ,Juan M. Garate, Wladimir Belli, On ability and UCI rankings probably deserve to be included; however the team has had a rocky relationship with Jean Marie Le Blanc since the “Rumsas Affair” so may well not make the cut.

Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf Florent Brard, Dave Bruylandts - Have been pushing hard for selection on the basis of their French connections, whether this is enough to be included remains to be seen.

Landbouwkrediet-Colnago Yaroslav Popovych , Ludo Dierckxsens ,Jacky Durand: With two of the most popular riders in the peloton and the immense young talent of Popovych, Landbouwkrediet have a lot to offer the Tour.

Maia Milaneza: The suspension of Francisco Perez Sanchez and the move of Claus Michael Møller to Alessio would seem to have reduced the teams chances of selection.

De Nardi : Serhiy Honchar, Charles Wegelius: Manager Gianluigi Stanga builds attacking teams on a limited budget. However it is unlikely to see the Italian outfit be chosen for the Tour.

Mr. Bookmaker.com – Palmans Jo Planckaert, Kurt van de Wouwer : the team seem happy to have been chosen for Paris Roubaix and may already be resigned to watching the Tour on the TV. A pity, they could be very useful stage hunters.

Relax - Bodysol Santi Blanco, Alberto Martínez – the team may well be resigned to making the Vuelta their major objective in 2004

Comunidad Valenciana – Kelme Alejandro Valverde Belmonte, Javier Pascual Llorente: A team packed full of talent and yet financial troubles have seen the side relegated to division 2. The team have asked for inclusion, in part to celebrate their 25 years as cycling sponsors. Nevertheless, the options of the team of Vicente Belda are small, since the director of the Tour, Jean-Marie Leblanc, has stated on numerous occasions his opposition to inviting to teams not from Division I. But the continuing rise of Valverde gives the “Green Machine” good sporting grounds to argue their case.

Domina Vacanze-Elitron Mario Cipollini, demoted to Division 2 for failing to meet UCI regulations on time the team still qualified for the World Cup because of their performances last year. Mario Cipollini has made an emotive plea to be allowed one last Tour, but then he made a similar unsuccessful plea last year.

Selected teams


Germany: T-Mobile, Gerolsteiner.
Belgium: Quick Step.
Denmark: CSC.
Spain: Baléares, Euskaltel, Liberty.
United States: US Postal.
France: Cofidis, fdjeux.com.
Italy: Alessio, Fassa Bortolo, Saeco.
Holland: Rabobank

Wild Cards

Phonak(Hamilton, Sevilla),

AG2R (Brochard, Kirsipuu),

La Boulangère (Beloki, Rous, Chavanel)

Crédit Agricole (Moreau, Hushovd)

Lotto (McEwen, Verbrugghe).

RAGT Semences - MG Rover - the French factor will be enough

Domina Vacanze-Elitron - Cipo is given the opportunity to ride his last Tour.

There is still place remaining -

Comunidad Valenciana – Kelme - With Valverde in stunning form and the team celebrating its 25th year the Tour organisers have deferred a decision for the team ubntil later.


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