Another shunning for Fuji-Servetto today, as the ASO announced the twenty teams who will participate in the 2009 Tour de France. A total of twenty teams will take the start, including three wildcard invites from the ProContinental ranks.
The three wildcard teams: Skil-Shimano • Cervélo TestTeam • Agritubel.
For Skil-Shimano, this year will mark the team's first trip to the July party in France. The team did not receive an invitation last year, but had hoped to build the team toward participating this season. They are best known for animating the early breakaways, especially in the cobbled classics. Jonathan Hivert, the young French rider at Skil-Shimano, finished eighth at Paris-Nice.
The invitations extended to Cervélo TestTeam and Agritubel are not especially surprising, though Agritubel suffered a few nervous moments over the bio-passport. The French team opted to pay to join the program in order to ride the Tour. Their sponsor, Agritubel, is in doubt beyond the end of this season, though recently, the company's management has indicated an interest in continuing as a secondary sponsor to the team. Agritubel brings former KOM Christophe Moreau and sprinter Romain Feillu to the Tour. Last year, Feillu wore the yellow jersey for a day. The French team may also bring rising classics talent Kevyn Ista, though it's not certain he will be ready just yet for a three week Tour.
Cervélo TestTeam has last year's Tour champion Carlos Sastre, who will ride for the overall classification. The new team will also liven up the final kilometer with former green jersey winner Thor Hushovd and emerging sprint talent Heinrich Haussler.
Full list of teams: AG2R-La Mondiale • Agritubel • Astana • Bbox Bouygues Telecom • Caisse d'Épargne • Cervélo TestTeam • Cofidis • Columbia-High Road • Euskatel-Euskadi • Française des Jeux • Garmin-Slipstream • Katyusha • Lampre-NGC • Liquigas • Milram • Quick-Step • Rabobank • Saxo Bank • Silence-Lotto • Skil-Shimano