South African-sponsored professional cycling outfit, Team Barloworld, today received and accepted their wildcard invitation to ride the most prestigious cycle race in the world, the Tour de France, in July 2007. Entry into the Tour de France is extended by invitation only to the best of the world?s professional cycling teams. Team Barloworld have had a phenomenal start to the 2007 cycling season, and are leading the 66-team UCI Professional Continental rankings. ?Team Barloworld?s success in being invited to compete in the Tour de France is thanks to both a great team effort as well as representation from Claudio Corti, the highly respected Italian Team Manager,? said Chris Fisher, Head of Corporate Marketing, Barloworld. ?When Barloworld first began sponsoring the team five years ago, their stated aim was to have a South-African sponsored team in the Tour de France. We will finally achieve this objective. Corti has worked tirelessly for over a year to get us into this race,? continued Fisher. ?The team?s success has been due to their exact application of the Barloworld brand personality and values, namely being professional, competitive, passionate, honest, diverse and doing everything we do with the greatest degree of integrity.? Claudio Corti, the Team Manager of Team Barloworld says: ?The UCI have recognized these qualities and now granted us just reward for years of hard work.? ?Barloworld and Team Barloworld?s brand philosophy is the same ? a combination of teamwork and individual excellence. This is what has been the core of the team?s success right from the beginning. We contract with riders that put the team first,? said Corti. Team Barloworld?s next challenge is going to be the selection of the riders within the team to compete in the Tour de France. Form riders thus far this season are Robert Hunter (Rsa), Alexander Efimkin (Rus), Felix Cardenas (Col), Geraint Thomas (Gbr) and John-Lee Augustyn (Rsa). Nine riders will be selected purely on merit. ?Our Tour de France objective now shifts to achieving a podium finish in a stage of the Tour de France,? said Fisher.