Koen De Kort went some way to spare Giant-Shimano’s blushes at the Tour Down Under, picking up fourth on the final stage after the team’s sprinter Marcel Kittel lost ground in the finale.
Kittel came into the Tour Down Under with his confidence high after winning his first race of the season in the People’s Choice Classic. The preamble to the Tour Down Under saw the Giant-Shimano sprinter hold off André Greipel for the win, but Kittel was found wanting in the two main bunch sprints during the first WorldTour race of the season. He vowed to return to wining ways in the near future.
"As a team we win and lose together, unfortunately today we lost. Next time we will do it better," Kittel said.
De Kort, who typically forms part of Kittel’s successful leadout train quickly spotted that his leader had been boxed in on Sunday’s final stage in Adelaide and reacted quickly by latching onto the leading riders. He was unable to compete with winner André Greipel and finished behind the German and the Omega Pharma QuickStep duo of Mark Renshaw and Andrew Fenn.
"The plan was to set Marcel up for the finish today but he got swamped towards the end and was unable to make up the ground. Koen did well to react and make the most of his good positioning to sprint to fourth place," said Giant-Shimano’s Addy Engels.
Simon Geschke was the highest placed Team Giant-Shimano rider overall, in 24th.
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