Given the 18 World Tour teams were guaranteed entry, only four spots were on offer for invites with Cofidis (FRA), Direct Energie (FRA), Fortuneo-Vital Concept (FRA) and Wanty-Groupe Gobert (BEL) making the cut.
“We are very proud of it. We hoped to be at the start of a grand tour, but we didn’t dare to think at the Tour de France,” Wanty-Groupe Gobert general manager Jean-François Bourlart said.
“It demonstrates the respect organisers and cycling world has now for our team. We knew taking part in the Dauphiné last year could open some doors.
“It confirms the improvement of the team step by step. Last year, we won the Amstel Gold Race, our first World Tour race, and the UCI Europe Tour classification.
“At the Tour de France, Wanty-Groupe Gobert finally plays with the big boys through work, dedication and confidence.”
The 18 WorldTour teams
AG2R La Mondiale (FRA)
Cannondale Drapac (USA)
Quick-Step Floors (BEL)
Dimension Data (RSA)
Team Sky (GBR)
UAE Abu Dhabi (UAE)