Dumoulin, Barguil and Degenkolb named in Giant-Alpecin's Tour de France team

Emphasis shifts from sprints to climbing for German-registered team

Tom Dumoulin, Warren Barguil and John Degenkolb have all been named in Giant-Alpecin’s team for the Tour de France, which gets underway in Mont-Saint-Michel on Saturday July 2.

Barguil placed 14th overall on his Tour debut last year despite sustaining a fractured kneecap in a crash on stage 10 and he will lead Giant-Alpecin’s general classification again this year. The Breton showed his form by placing third overall at the recent Tour de Suisse, though the team is reluctant to set too lofty a target for the 24-year-old at this juncture.

“We have made a long-term plan with him, aiming to develop his general classification performance over the next few years,” Giant-Alpecin coach Aike Visbeek said.

“This will be his second appearance in his home Grand Tour, and we believe a top-15 is again a realistic target for him.”

Dumoulin lines out at the Tour chiefly as preparation for the time trial at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, his principal target of the 2016 season. He led the Giro d’Italia for much of the opening week but was forced out of the race on stage 11 due to the effects of a saddle sore. It had initially been anticipated that Dumoulin would race the Tour de Pologne as part of his Olympic build-up, but his early departure from the Giro prompted a rethink of his plans.

Degenkolb was among the riders injured in the mass crash at Giant-Alpecin’s training camp in Calpe in January and the German was forced to miss the entire spring Classics campaign as a result. After beginning his season at the Tour of California in May, Degenkolb completed the recent Critérium du Dauphiné and will ride the Tour as Giant-Alpecin’s designated sprinter, following Marcel Kittel’s depature for Etixx-QuickStep during the off-season.

Ramon Sinkeldam and Albert Timmer will serve as Degenkolb’s lead-out men, while Roy Curvers is named as road captain.

In a break with tradition, the Giant-Alpecin team is balanced by contingent of strong climbers, and Barguil will be able to rely on the support of Laurens ten Dam, Simon Geschke and Georg Preidler in the high mountains.

The veteran Ten Dam, who joined from LottoNL-Jumbo this season, is facing into his eight Tour, while Geschke will be looking to repeat his exploits of a year ago, when he claimed a memorable solo win at Pra Loup. Preidler performed strongly at last month’s Giro d’Italia, placing 26th overall in Milan and finishing third on the Dolomite tappone to Corvara.

“We have a great blend of experience and youth in our line-up,” said Visbeek. “This year’s Tour de France offers more opportunities in the mountains, with some tough stages, and we took that into consideration when we made our final selection.”

Giant-Alpecin team for the Tour de France: Warren Barguil (Fra), Roy Curvers (Ned), John Degenkolb (Ger), Tom Dumoulin (Ned), Simon Geschke (Ger), Georg Preidler (Aut), Laurens ten Dam (Ned), Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) and Albert Timmer (Ned).

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