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Tour de Suisse assigns three wild cards

This year, the three teams receiving the sought-after wild cards are the Irish team Aqua Blue Sport (ABS), the French team Direct Energie (DEN) and the Italian team Nippo-Vini Fantini Europa Ovini (NIP).

InfrontRingier, organiser of the Tour de Suisse, is assigning a total of three wild cards to professional continental teams for this year’s tour. When added to the 18 teams on the UCI World Tour, a total of 21 teams with seven riders each will compete in the Tour de Suisse 2018. Two wild card teams made successful débuts at the Tour de Suisse last year.

Aqua Blue Sport
The young Irish team entered the Tour de Suisse last year during their maiden season, as one of the four wild card teams.
The team, in their dark-blue team colour, gave an impressive performance, even managing to claim a stage win – the current American champion, Larry Warbasse, claimed a solo victory in the mountain stage to Villars-sur-Ollon. With the Austrian Stefan Denifl, the Irish team also has a gifted mountain specialist in its ranks. Denifl won the Tour de Suisse mountains classification in 2015, when he was still riding for IAM Cycling, and claimed a solo victory at the Vuelta 2017 with a mountain finish.

Direct Energie
The French team, which went by the name Europcar until three years ago, is competing in its 18th season since its founding in 2000.
The French pro continental team is once again starting with a Tour de Suisse wild card, as they did last year.
The jersey colours are black and yellow; the naming sponsor is a power company.
With Sylvain Chavanel (38), the French team boasts an old favourite – Chavanel rode for two years for the Swiss team IAM Cycling, which has since been disbanded.
Direct Energie consists exclusively of French riders; the sole exception is the Estonian Rein Taaramäe.

Nippo-Vini Fantini Europa Ovini
The 19 riders in the Italian-Japanese professional continental team include the Japan Cup winner Marco Canola, as well as the 2004 Giro d’Italia winner Damiano Cunego, who is the team’s leader. This will be the final season for the three-time winner of the Giro di Lombardia. At the Tour de Suisse, Damiano Cunego will compete in his last major tour and bid farewell to the WorldTour.
For the Nippo-Vini Fantini team, however, this will be their first time participating in the Tour de Suisse.

Press conference on 30 May 2018
The announcement of which riders are expected to participate from 9–17 June 2018 will be made by the Tour de Suisse at its traditional press conference a few days before the tour begins. This will take place on 30 May 2018.

Further information: Ueli Anken, TdS Media Officer, +41 79 638 18 18, media@tds.ch

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