This year, the Irish team Aqua Blue Sport (ABS), the French Equipe Direct Energie (DEN) and the Italian team Nippo-Vini Fantini Europa Ovini (NIP) will enjoy the popular wild cards.
InfrontRingier, organizer of the Tour de Suisse, is awarding a total of three wildcards to Pro Continental teams for this year’s edition of the Swiss National Tour. Together with the 18 seeded teams of the UCI WorldTour, 21 teams of 7 riders each will therefore compete in the Tour de Suisse 2018. Two wildcard teams already started successfully at the Tour de Suisse last year.
Aqua Blue Sport
The young Irish team started its first season ever last year and immediately rode the Tour de Suisse as one of the four wildcard teams.
The team with the dark blue team colour showed an impressive performance. With the solo victory of the reigning American national champion Larry Warbasse in the mountain stage to Villars-sur-Ollon, the Aqua Blue Sport team was even able to book a stage victory. In addition, the Irish team has a gifted mountain specialist in the Austrian Stefan Denifl. Stefan Denifl won the Tour de Suisse mountain prize in 2015 – still in the service of IAM Cycling – and succeeded at the Vuelta 2017 with a solo victory at a mountain ascent.
The French team, which until three years ago started under the name Europcar, is already competing in its 18th season since its foundation in 2000.
Like last year, the French pro-continental team will start this year’s Tour de Suisse with a wildcard.
The jersey colours are black and yellow, the naming sponsor is an electricity company.
With Sylvain Chavanel (38) the French team has an old acquaintance – Chavanel rode for two years for the now dissolved Swiss team IAM Cycling.
The Team Direct Energie consists exclusively of French people, the only exception being the Estonian Rein Taaramäe.
Nippo-Vini Fantini Europe Ovini
The Italian-Japanese pro-continental team has among its 19 riders not only the Japan Cup winner Marco Canola but also the 2004 Giro d’Italia winner Damiano Cunego as leader. The three-time winner of the Tour of Lombardy is driving his last season this year. At the Tour de Suisse, Damiano Cunego will make his last big tour and thus retire from the World Tour.
For Team Nippo-Vini Fantini, on the other hand, it will be their first participation in the Tour de Suisse.
At its traditional media conference a few days before the start (30 May 2018), the Tour de Suisse will announce which riders are expected to be in action from 9 – 17 June 2018.