Team Giant-Alpecin announced its final nine-rider line-up for the 102nd Tour de France, which starts in Utrecht (NL) on July 4. After starting in Rotterdam in 2010, the 2015 Tour de France returns to the Netherlands.
With an impressive haul of eight stage wins in the previous two editions of La Grand Boucle, Team Giant-Alpecin heads to this year’s Tour de France once again with the goal of winning a stage in the sprint stages with a difficult finale, the intermediate/transition stages and the mountain stages. Further to this, the team aims to develop the riders’ form and further enhancing the quality of the entire team.
To achieve successful results, German sprinter John Degenkolb will lead the team with his focus on obtaining good results in reduced sprints. With Warren Barguil (FRA), Georg Preidler (AUT) and Ramon Sinkeldam (NED), the team brings three debutants to Utrecht. For Barguil it will his challenge to discover his capabilities in the Tour, which will be an important step in his development as a GC rider. With the young Frenchman, the team aims for stage success in the intermediate /transition- and mountain stages. Preidler is an all-rounder and his qualities will be employed as a support rider in the lead-out as well as the mountain stages. Sinkeldam will be a valuable member of the sprint preparation for Degenkolb.
Other riders forming the line-up for Team Giant-Alpecin’s fifth start at the Tour include road captain Roy Curvers (NED), starting his fourth Tour, and trusty lead-out men Koen de Kort (NED) and Albert Timmer (NED), who both participated in all Tour de France tours the team has competed in thus far. The line-up is completed by Tom Dumoulin (NED), who is aiming for a good result in the opening time trial, and Simon Geschke (GER), who together with Dumoulin returns for his third Tour.
The team looks forward to the start in the Netherlands, and for five of the team’s riders this will be an extra special experience: to start the Tour de France on their home turf. Specific preparations have been made by the team for the Tour de France, starting back in the winter of 2014. The riders, coaches and experts have been fine-tuning every detail of the team’s equipment, training, support and logistics in a continuous preparation process, using aero wind tunnel tests, course recon’s and the altitude training camp in Sierra Nevada.
A notable absentee this year will be German sprinter Marcel Kittel, who worked hard with team’s coaches and experts to get in shape after recovering from a virus. Good progress has been made in this process, however the team decided that Kittel’s basic fitness is still not sufficient to compete in the Tour de France. Therefore the team will be strengthened for stage success over a different type of parcours, the hard sprints. For now, an alternative racing program will be determined by the performance team and Kittel himself and new goals will be set for the autumn to structurally work towards them.
“Of course I am disappointed about not participating in the Tour de France this year,” said Kittel. “But I will have to look ahead and focus on new goals.”
Coach Marc Reef (NED) is looking forward to the Tour: “Our main goal will be for a stage win, and the team for this year’s Tour has a good chance to achieve this goal. Based on the team’s specific strengths, we already have some great opportunities for success in the first week and fully expect to achieve positive results throughout.”
Giant-Alpecin Tour de France line-up:
Warren Barguil (FRA)
Roy Curvers (NED)
John Degenkolb (GER)
Tom Dumoulin (NED)
Simon Geschke (GER)
Koen de Kort (NED)
Georg Preidler (AUT)
Ramon Sinkeldam (NED)
Albert Timmer (NED)