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Tour de France Wildcard Teams Announced

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The ASO, so busy. They've got Paris-Roubaix to run this weekend, but somehow they got around to announcing the four additional teams for this year's Tour de France. Who's in? Europcar, Cofidis, Saur-Sojasun, and Argos. All three French teams rode the 2011 Tour de France, and Argos rode the 2009 Tour as Skil-Shimano. Tour director Christian Prudhomme is not taking any risks here.

Europcar includes crowd-favorite and Yellow Jersey wearer Thomas Voeckler and 2011 Alpe d'Huez winner Pierre Rolland. No brainer pick, there for the ASO. Saur-Sojasun will likely bring Jérôme Coppel and Julien Simon to the party. Argos has sprint talents Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb. And Cofidis? Could they have the Tour de France without Cofidis? I'm not so sure. David Moncoutié, Rein Taramae, and Samuel Dumoulin are all stage-chasing hopefuls for Cofidis.

The four wildcards join the 18 World Tour teams, which thanks to this week's UCI decision, includes Saxo Bank. Left out of the party is team Bretagne-Schuller who had Tour hopes, and five victories so far this season. Not enough this year, it seems. The Tour de France field will number 198 riders.

The 2012 Tour de France begins 30 June in Liège and concludes in Paris with the traditional Champs Èlysées stage on 22 July.

Photo: Michael Steele/Getty.