The Giant-Shimano team has revealed its 13-rider long list for the Vuelta a España, with the team set to focus on sprint wins with Germany's John Degenkolb and target the overall classification and mountain stages with Warren Barguil.
US riders Chad Haga and Lawson Craddock are also in contention for places in the final nine that will start the Vuelta in Jerez de la Frontera, in southern Spain on Saturday September 23.
Craddock finished an impressive third overall at the Tour of California and won the best young rider competition for a second year. He and Haga are getting ready for the Vuelta a España by riding this week's Vuelta a Burgos, which will also see Vuelta favourite and Giro d'Italia winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar) in action.
Also in the 13-rider long list are Nikias Arndt, Thomas Damuseau, Johannes Fröhlinger, Thierry Hupond, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Koen De Kort, Tobias Ludvigsson, Ramon Sinkeldam and Tom Stamsnijder. The final selection of nine riders will be made and announced the week prior to the start of the race.
22-year-old Frenchman Barguil did not ride the Tour de France, with Giant-Shimano focusing on sprint finishes with Marcel Kittel and Degenkolb. However he gets his chance to shine in Spain. He won mountain stages to Formigal and Castelldefels in the 2013 Vuelta, the first Grand Tour of his career. He finished 14th overall in the recent Tour of Poland, showing solid form on the two mountain stages.
"We head into the Vuelta with two real objectives, firstly to help support Warren towards a good overall result in the race," Giant-Shimano coach Christian Guiberteau said in a statement from the team.
"In this we will also help both Warren develop as a leader and also some of the other younger riders in the team to progress in working every day for an overall goal. As well as this we want to target a sprint win but the opportunities for this outcome are few and far between. The team will be built around aiming for these objectives while at the same time focusing on the development that you get from riding a Grand Tour."