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Menchov and Sastre's Geox-TMC secures Vuelta wild card

Invites also for Andalucia Caja Granada, Cofidis and Skil-Shimano

Unipublic, organisers of the Vuelta a Espana, have confirmed that two-time winner Denis Menchov’s Geox-TMC team, which also includes former Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre in its roster, is one of four outfits to have received a wild card entry to this year’s race. The others are the Spanish team Andalucia Caja Granada, France’s Cofidis, and the Dutch outfit Skil-Shimano.

Those four teams will join the 18 ProTeam squads who automatically qualify for the race as a result of an agreement reached last year between the UCI and the organisers of cycling’s three Grand Tours, the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta itself.

The 2011 Vuelta gets under way on 20th August with a team time trial in Benidorm and includes six summit finishes during its 21 stages, concluding in Madrid on 11 September.

In a statement, Unipublic said that it “reserves the right to modify this list if important circumstances are advising it to do so, always keeping the ethical responsibilities of the cyclist and his sport quality.”

Geox-TMC, which raced last year as Footon Servetto and now has Italian sponsorship on board, had a disappointing Giro, with Menchov, winner of that race in 2009 and of the Vuelta in 2005 and 2007, finishing in eighth position overall. Sastre also competed in the race but struggled with illness and failed to make an impact.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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