Cipollini, Ullrich and Phonak miss out
The Amaury Sports Organisation has announced the names of the final four teams that will participate in this year's Centenary Tour de France. At a press conference in Paris today, the ASO named French teams Ag2r-Prevoyance, Brioches La Boulangère and Jean Delatour and Spanish squad Euskaltel-Euskadi to fill the remaining places.
After the semi-collapse of Team Coast last week, 1997 Tour winner Jan Ullrich did not get an invitation, despite relaunching the team as Bianchi in the near future. In addition, Alex Zülle's Phonak squad also missed out on Tour selection. The biggest shock was that World Champion Mario Cipollini's Domina Vacanze team didn't get an invite, despite Cipo's immense popularity and status as one of the world's best sprinters.
The ASO's director of cycling Daniel Baal indicated that there was a fair chance that a 22nd team would be selected, provided that the suspension of Team Coast by the UCI was not lifted. "Team Coast still exists," said Baal. "The situation has yet to be clarified by the UCI."
The 21 teams that will ride the Centenary Tour are as follows:
Brioches La Boulangère
US Postal - Berry Floor