Due to the health crisis, 23 teams (of eight riders) instead of 22 were at the start of the last Tour de France, on June 26 from Brest: the 19 teams from the WorldTour circuit, the first in the classification of the Europe Tour circuit (Alpecin -Fenix) and three guests (Arkéa-Samsic and B&B Hotels, Total Direct Énergie). “But in 2022, we will fall back to 22”, had hammered Christian Prudhomme, the director of the event, at the beginning of June, during his visit to the Telegram.
The Qhubeka mystery
In other words, with 19 teams in the 1st division of cycling and Alpecin-Fenix (guaranteed to finish again in first place in the second division), only two teams will be invited to Denmark next summer. Two, but which ones?
With the arrival of Peter Sagan, former triple world champion and seven times green jersey of the Tour de France, the Vendée team TotalEnergies already seems certain to be part of the game. There is therefore only one place left which will logically be played between the two Breton teams, Arkéa-Samsic and B&B Hotels.
Except that the situation could change in the coming weeks… According to the specialized site Cyclingnews, The Qhubeka NextHash team, a member of the WorldTour, would be in the grip of very big financial problems and they would not be sure to leave. If the South African team, already on the verge of bankruptcy in November 2020, were to go out of business, the WorldTour circuit would drop to 18 teams (which was the norm).
As stipulated in the UCI (Union cycliste internationale) regulations, the two best teams in the second division (Alpecin-Fenix and… Arkéa-Samsic) would therefore be invited to the start of the three Grand Tours. The two invitations for the Tour de France 2022 could go to TotalEnergies (by Peter Sagan) and B&B Hôtels (by Franck Bonnamour). Simple guess?