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First Chinese rider in Tour to support Kittel, Degenkolb
Team Giant-Shimano today announced its final roster for the 2014 Tour de France, with its German sprinters Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb taking center stage. The team is focused almost entirely on stage victories, with its powerful lead-out squads selected for both pure sprint stages for Kittel and "power sprints" on the more difficult finales for Degenkolb.
The team also includes Dutch riders Roy Curvers, Koen De Kort, Albert Timmer, Tom Veelers and Tom Dumoulin, with Belgian Dries Devenyns and Cheng Ji from China.
The presence of Cheng on the squad marks a historic moment, as he will become the first Chinese rider to start the Tour de France. “When we started working with him as a young talented rider back in 2008, we made a long-term plan and this has seen him develop into the highest level of the sport and we see him now playing an important factor in the sprint formations," Team coach Rudi Kemna said.
“Having Cheng in the team as the first Chinese rider ever to ride the Tour de France will be huge for him and his country and we look forward to seeing the impact this has on the globalisation of the sport.”
Absent are potential GC contenders Warren Barguil, who did not make the long list, and stage hunters such as Simon Geschke.
“It is always hard picking a selection for the Tour, and especially so this year when we have so many riders all at near enough the same level and capable of bringing a lot to the team.
“With the team we have selected we have a strong group well balanced to race as well as possible towards our main objective – winning a stage of the Tour.
“The way we are heading in to the Tour is the way that I like start a race – with a team full of confidence and with clear goals. I am looking forward to going to the Tour and showing the world who Team Giant-Shimano is.”
Giant-Shimano for the Tour de France: Roy Curvers, John Degenkolb, Dries Devenyns, Tom Dumoulin, Cheng Ji, Marcel Kittel, Koen De Kort, Albert Timmer, Tom Veelers.