The Tour de France will welcome its first African team, MTN-Qhubeka, in 2015. South Africa’s team will race alongside Pro Continental teams Bora-Argon 18, Bretagne-Séché Environnement, Cofidis and Europcar at the 2015 race which starts on July 4.
MTN-Qhubeka, who began racing as a second division team in 2013, participated in its first Grand Tour, the Vuelta a España, last year.
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This morning, Tour organiser ASO announced MTN as one of its five wildcard teams to race with the 17 WorldTour teams with guaranteed spots. French teams Bretagne-Seche Environnement, Cofidis and Europcar, and Germany’s Bora-Argon 18 also received the nod to attend.
Team Sky returns to race for the sixth time in 2015. It has a right to race with WorldTour teams AG2R La Mondiale, Astana, BMC Racing Team, Etixx-Quick Step, FDJ, IAM Cycling, Lampre-Merida, Lotto-Soudal, Movistar, Orica-GreenEDGE, Cannondale-Garmin, Giant-Alpecin, Katusha, LottoNL-Jumbo, Tinkoff-Saxo and Trek Factory Racing.
Via Twitter, ASO also named the teams for its Paris-Nice and Critérium du Dauphiné stage races.
The same 17 WorldTour teams will race both WorldTour events. Cofidis, Europcar and Bretagne received wildcard invitations for Pairs-Nice, March 8 to 15; and MTN, Bora, Cofidis and Europcar for the Dauphine, June 7 to 14.
ASO beat Giro d’Italia organiser RCS Sport with its selections. RCS Sport should announce the teams to attend Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo and the Giro today or tomorrow.