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Fuji team not invited to Tour de France

  • Story Highlights
  • Tour de France organizers confirm list of 20 teams to compete in 2009 race
  • Spanish team Fuji are the only one of the 18 Pro Tour teams not handed invite
  • Fuji not invited because of doping scandals when sponsored by Saunier Duval
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(CNN) -- Tour de France organizers have confirmed that 20 teams, 180 riders in total, will compete in this year's race, with the Spanish Fuji team the biggest omission from the starting list.

This year's Tour de France route will begin in Monaco, with 180 riders from 20 teams taking part.

This year's Tour de France route will begin in Monaco, with 180 riders from 20 teams taking part.

Of the 18 teams in the Pro Tour, 17 have been invited to the race, including the Astana team of seven-times winner Lance Armstrong and 2007 champion Alberto Contador -- who were omitted from last year's race because of doping problems with previous riders.

Fuji have suffered the same fate this year. Last year's team, when sponsored by Saunier Duval, suffered a host of doping problems with Riccardo Ricco and Leonardo Piepoli -- both stage winners -- kicked off the race after Ricco tested positive for a new form of EPO called CERA.

Despite both riders now being suspended, and the team having undergone a sponsor change, they have not been invited on ethical grounds.

Three wildcard teams make up the numbers. Regular competitors Agritubel, the new Cervelo team of defending champion Carlos Sastre and Dutch outfit Skil-Shimano, who will be making their Tour debuts.

Aside from Fuji, the non-Pro Tour Barloworld team -- who also suffered a doping scandal in last year's race -- miss out as well.

This year's race begins with a prologue time-trial in Monaco on July 4 and ends with its traditional finish in Paris on July 25.

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