Former winner Carlos Sastre and last year’s podium man Denis Menchov will miss this year’s Tour de France after their Geox-TMC squad was overlooked in Tour de France invitations revealed Thursday.
Four French teams have been invited to start the 2011 Tour de France, leaving Geox-TMC on the sidelines for the 98th edition of the Tour.
Cofidis, FDJeux, Saur-SojaSun and Team Europcar all received invitations to round out the 22-team selection for the Tour, set for July 2-24.
The news comes as a big blow to Geox-TMC, which missed out on securing one of the valued 18 ProTeam licenses last fall. Team officials have been unavailable for comment all week since the Spanish daily AS reported that it would not be invited to the Tour.
The invitation is a big boon for Saur-Sojasun, a growing French squad that missed out on an invitation for the 2010 Tour.
Race organizers ASO respected the presence of the pre-selected 18 ProTeam teams and decided to provide a heavy French flavor when rounding out the four invitations.
ASO also announced four invitations for the 69th Paris-Nice, Bretagne-Schuller getting a nod along with Cofidis, FDJeux and Team Europcar.
Teams for the 2011 Tour de France (July 2-24)
• Omega Pharma-Lotto (B)
• Quickstep Cycling Team (B)
• Saxo Bank Sungard (Dk)
• Euskaltel-Euskadi (Sp)
• Movistar Team (Sp)
• Ag2r La Mondiale (F)
• Sky Procycling (GB)
• Lampre-ISD (I)
• Liquigas-Cannondale (I)
• Pro Team Astana (Kz)
• Team Leopard-Trek (Lux)
• Rabobank Cycling Team (Nl)
• Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team (Nl)
• Katusha Team (Rus)
• BMC Racing Team (USA)
• HTC-Highroad (USA)
• Team Garmin-Cervelo (USA)
• Team Radioshack (USA)
• Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne (F)
• FdJ (F)
• Saur-Sojasun (F)
• Team Europcar (F)