MTN-Qhubeka to become first African team to compete at Tour de France

Tour de France organiser ASO awards MTN-Qhubeka a wildcard for the Tour de France, with three French teams and German's Bora-Argon 18 also invited

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.

>>> Tour de France 2015 route revealed

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.

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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.

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