Road

Cipo’ and Hamilton a go for ’04 Tour

Mario Cipollini will make his long-awaited return to the Tour de France this year after organizers issued the seven remaining wildcard invitations for this year's race Friday.Fourteen first division teams have already qualified for the race in accordance with their UCI (International Cycling Union) rankings at the end of last season.Organizers have left open the possibility for a 22nd team to be added to the list at a later date.Cipollini has missed the world's biggest race for the past two years, with his non-inclusion last year during the race's centenary edition causing an uproar in

By VeloNews Interactive

Mario Cipollini will make his long-awaited return to the Tour de France this year after organizers issued the seven remaining wildcard invitations for this year’s race Friday.Fourteen first division teams have already qualified for the race in accordance with their UCI (International Cycling Union) rankings at the end of last season.Organizers have left open the possibility for a 22nd team to be added to the list at a later date.

Cipollini has missed the world’s biggest race for the past two years, with his non-inclusion last year during the race’s centenary edition causing an uproar in Italy.However his current team, Domina Vacanze, have this year been invited along with French teams AG2R, Brioches la Boulangere, Credit Agricole, and RAGT-Rover.The remaining wildcard teams were the Belgian Lotto team of Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen, while the Swiss Phonak team of American Tyler Hamilton also got the nod for the July 3-25 race.It means France will have six teams in the race, Italy four, Spain three, Belgium and Germany two each, while Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands and United States will all have one team.Teams named Friday:
AG2R (F)
Phonak (Swi)
Lotto (B)
Brioches La Boulangere (F)
RAGT (F)
Credit Agricole (F)
Domina Vacanze (I)
 
Already qualified:
T-Mobile (G)
Geroslteiner (G)
Quick Step (B)
Baleares (Sp)
Euskaltel (Sp)
Liberty (Sp)
U.S. Postal (USA)
Cofidis (F)
Fdjeux.com (F)
Alessio (I)
Fassa Bortolo (I)
Saeco (I)
Rabobank (Nl)
CSC (Dk)