Dan Martin, Kittel and Gilbert lead Quick-Step Floors at Tour de France

Kittel eyes early sprint stages as Martin hopes for GC placing in Paris

The Quick-Step Floors team is the final team to confirm its nine-rider line-up for the Tour de France, with Dan Martin, Marcel Kittel and Philippe Gilbert all in the Belgian squad as it hopes to take stage victories in the sprints with Kittel and a solid overall performance from Martin.

The Quick-Step Floors team has already taken 35 victories this season and 17 of these have come from riders in the Tour de France squad.

Martin, Kittel and Gilbert will be supported by a strong and experienced team that includes Jack Bauer, Fabio Sabatini, new Czech national road race champion Zdenek Stybar, Matteo Trentin, Gianluca Brambilla and Julien Vermote. However, all are capable of winning stages themselves and have proven their ability in recent years. Trentin is a double stage winner, while Stybar won two years ago in Lyon.

Kittel is Quick-Step Floors' designated sprinter and will be chasing his 10th Tour de France stage victory. His speed in short time trials makes him a contender for the opening time trial in Dusseldorf on Saturday, while the subsequent sprints and time bonuses could mean he pulls on the leader's yellow jersey early in the race.

The 29-year-old German will be the centre of attention at the Dusseldorf Grand Départ and he will have the support of a powerful lead-out train that includes Bauer, trusted leadout man Sabatini, Stybar, Trentin and the hard working Vermote.

Martin came close to a stage victory in 2016 and finished ninth overall. He seems stronger and more consistent than ever this season, finishing second at Fleche-Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège in the spring before taking third overall at the recent Critérium du Dauphiné ahead of Chris Froome.

Philippe Gilbert will celebrate his 35th birthday during the first week of the Tour de France but has rejuvenated his career at Quick-Step Floors this spring, winning the Tour of Flanders and the Amstel Gold Race. He last rode the Tour de France in 2013 but gives Quick-Step Floors options for the hilly stages where breakaways can spoil the day for the sprinters. He and Trentin will no doubt try to challenge Peter Sagan's dominance when Kittel is out of contention.

Quick-Step Floors for the Tour de France: Jack Bauer (Nzl), Gianluca Brambilla (Ita), Philippe Gilbert (Bel), Marcel Kittel (Ger), Daniel Martin (Irl), Fabio Sabatini (Ita), Zdenek Stybar (Cze), Matteo Trentin (Ita) and Julien Vermote (Bel).

 

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