MTN-Qhubeka and Europcar are among the teams who have been invited to race at the Tour of Flanders as the race organiser Flanders Classics announced the wildcard picks for the 2015 edition of the monument, which takes place on April 5.
The South African and French teams will be joined by six fellow Pro Continental outfits, including Androni-Gipcattoli, Bora-Argon18, Cofidis, as well as Belgian teams Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise and Wanty-Groupe Gobert.
The 264.2km course the riders will take on in 2015 features a few small tweaks to its 2014 predecessor, with long sectors of flat road taken out to make the race more difficult as it approaches its conclusion.
Swiss classics, Tour de France and time trial star Fabian Cancellara will pick the right moment to hang up his
The course will still take on a final circuit three times that includes both the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg climbs, where the race is ultimately expected to won and lost.
Defending champion Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) is expected to return in search of another win in Flanders, having recently said he’d like to win another monument before he decides to retire from the sport.
Three-time winner Tom Boonen (Etixx – Quick-Step) is also expected to take to the start, as he searches to regain his form at the cobbled classics, while the likes of Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo), Greg van Avermaet (BMC) and Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL.Jumbo), who have all come up short in recent years, will also be looking to challenge Cancellara.
Tour of Flanders 2015 teams:
Ag2r La Mondiale, Astana Pro Team, BMC Racing Team, Etixx-Quick – Step, FDJ, IAM Cycling, Lampre-Merida, Lotto-Soudal, Movistar Team, Orica-GreenEdge, Team Cannondale-Garmin, Team Giant-Alpecin, Team Katusha, Team Lotto NL-Jumbo, Team Sky, Tinkoff-Saxo, Trek Factory Racing, Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise, Wanty – Groupe Gobert, Cofidis Solutions Crédit, Team Europcar, Bora-Argon 18, Androni Giocattoli, Team Roompot and MTN – Qhubeka.