A close-up look at the Australian's purpose-built ride
Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
New and old kicks and lids seen at WorldTour race
Warren Barguil (Team Giant-Shimano)
Frenchman unlikely to feature in Giant-Shimano squad
Barguil, who won two stages of the last season’s Vuelta a España as a neo-professional, had hoped to make his Tour debut this time around. Although the final nine-man selection is yet to be confirmed, he believes his exclusion is all but a formality.
"Officially, on Saturday or Sunday I should know if I'm going to be part of the Tour team or not," Barguil told L’Équipe.
Kittel, winner of four stages at last year's Tour, will lead the squad and aim to repeat his feat of wearing the first maillot jaune of the race. His lead-out train will make up the bulk of the Giant-Shimano selection, and there will also be a place in the team for the Dutch team’s other fast finisher, John Degenkolb.
"I really wanted to discover the Tour," Barguil said. "I know that there is a team strategy in place but this Tour corresponds to my characteristics, and there isn't much time trialling, less than at the Vuelta."
If he misses the Tour, the 22-year-old Barguil will return to the Vuelta, where he won stages at Castelldefels and Aramon Formigal last September, en route to a 38th place finish in Madrid. The Frenchman's sights appear to be fixed a little higher for this year's race.
"It's a nice memory and of course I want to go back there. But if I go there, it won't be to get a place in the top 20," he said.
While Barguil is under contract with Giant-Shimano for next season, manager Iwan Spekenbrink is still searching for a sponsor to secure the team’s continuation beyond the end of this year. L'Équipe reports that Team Sky has expressed an interest in signing Barguil if Giant-Shimano does not survive.
"It's clear that everybody would like to have more news. But we need to have confidence in our manager,” Barguil said. "I'm not doing my head in with it."