ASO, the organizer of the Tour de France, announced this afternoon a first selection of teams for the next Grande Boucle. The French organizer invites us for the third year in a row to the biggest cycling event in the world. Wanty-Gobert Cycling Team will present itself at the Grand Départ of the Tour de France in Brussels on July the 6th. Three Belgian teams will be at the start of the 106th edition of the Tour, which will pay tribute to Eddy Merckx. An invitation to the delight of sports management, sponsors and of course the riders.
Guillaume Martin (rider):
"This third invitation proves that we have not stolen our place in the Tour de France for the past two years. I thank ASO for the trust in us and for announcing our selection as one of the first two invited teams. Thus we can plan the season with serenity."
"I still feel that I have not been able to leave 100% of my mark on the Tour of 2018. Although my first participation was satisfying, many details have messed up my plans in the past year, our 2nd participation. I came close to the white jersey, but could never wear it. In the last stages I tumbled down in the GC. I did not feel well and a broken rib did not help."
"The 2019 edition shouldsuit me! It is similar to the one of 2017. I already looked at it, but with the announcement of this invitation I will certainly study more thoroughly in the upcoming days and weeks. Since I now live in Pau I know the course of the time trial, which will not be easy. I have already climbed the Soulor and Tourmalet in the Pyrenees. In Alsace I know quite well the region since I have also lived in Strasbourg. Long live the summer!"
Jean-François Bourlart (general manager):
"This third consecutive selection for the Tour de France is very satisfying. We won the UCI Europe Tour for the third consecutive year, so I was hoping for a new participation in the Tour and I am delighted to see that the organizers rewarded our efforts. We gathered points all over Europe and climbed to the top of the second division. This announcement comes at the right time, just before we leave for our training camp in Spain where we plan all these important appointments.”
"The Grand Départ of the Tour de France in Brussels will be a highlight of our season and in the history of the team. The start of the third stage in Binche, home of our title partner Wanty, promises to be a big party for the cycling world."
"This invitation is a strong signal for the work we have been doing for a number of years, which further strengthens the long-term commitment of our project, faithful to our values and our philosophy. We progress year after year. We will start the 2019 campaign on the same basis and I want to thank Christian Prud'homme and his ASO team for the trust and credibility they place in our team and our vision of cycling."
Hilaire Van der Schueren (sports director):
"I am very pleased with this invitation and I am already looking forward to the great moments we will experience this summer: the Grand Départ of Brussels, the start of the third stage in Binche, and especially the passage of the peloton, on the first day, through Geraardsbergen, in front of my house, before they climb the Bosberg. All these elements make that edition 2019 will be a very important Tour de France for us."
"Now we have to prove from the beginning of the season that ASO has not made a mistake by giving us an invitation. We proved that we have done well in our first two participations, true to our will to animate the race by attacking in almost every stage. Our first place in the UCI Europe Tour also helped us, so I'm happy to receive this invitation because the choice for the organization was not easy."