The Giant-Alpecin team have confirmed that Tom Dumoulin will ride the Giro d’Italia in May, targeting the opening time trial in the Netherlands and the final overall classification before focusing on the time trial at the Olympic Games in Rio.
The German-registered WorldTour team revealed the news during its official team presentation at the Italian Embassy in Berlin. The 10-rider women’s Liv-Plantur team was also presented during the event, taking centre stage along with the men. Both teams’ colours remain largely unchanged, with both again racing in black and white. New sponsors include Renson and team car sponsor Mini.
John Degenkolb celebrated his birthday at the team presentation and confirmed he will lead Giant-Alpecin in the spring Classics and chase stage victories at the Tour de France in the absence of Marcel Kittel, who left the team after a difficult 2015 and joined Etixx-QuickStep. Warren Barguil will have support from experienced new signing Laurens ten Dam for the Tour de France, with the Frenchman setting himself a goal of a place in the top five of the overall classification.
Asked on stage during the presentation to name his goals for 2016, Dumoulin was blunt: “The Giro and Rio,” he said, going on to talk more openly about his success in 2015, in which he led the Vuelta a Espana going into the penultimate day.
“I look back at 2015 with generally a good feeling - a really good feeling. It was a kind of breakthrough season. It [the Vuelta] didn’t work out completely like I wanted but that opened up some new opportunities that I grabbed. It was a very good season.”
Any decision about Dumoulin also riding the Tour de France will be made after the Giro d’Italia.
Degenkolb was given an award as German rider of the year during the presentation and is keen to repeat his success in the spring Classics after winning both Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix last term.
“The season is about to start, it’s not so far away now and I’m really looking forward to 2016,” he said. “With my victories [of 2015] in my pocket, I’ve got a lot of motivation to again show what I can do. The Classics and the Tour are the big goals, to be in brilliant shape from Milan-San Remo to Paris-Roubaix, to be as good as possible to get the best out of the races. Winning a stage at the Tour de France is also my very, very big goal.”
The women’s Liv-Plantur has a ten-rider roster that includes cyclo-cross rider Sabrina Stultiens and Floortje Mackaij, who has just signed a new four-year contract. The team also includes British duo Lucy Garner and Molly Weaver, along with Australia’s Carlee Taylor, who is currently down under for the national championships.
Developing the world’s best talents
Team manager Iwan Spekenbrink has grown the Giant-Alpecin team gradually since 2008. He is proud of the progress the team has made and confident for the future.
“We must thank everyone present here today in Berlin for helping make this a special day in a perfect location, the Italian Embassy in Berlin. It is a great way to kick off our 2016 campaign, and we are once again hugely excited about the coming racing season,” he said.
“The Italian embassy reflects Italy and today reflects Italian cycling, where a big part of the history of this sport lies and where the passion of the tifosi comes from and where organisers want to grow that passion also in new places in the world. Today Italy is meeting a big new cycling country – Germany – so it’s a great podium for us to launch our team.”
Spekenbrink confirmed that Giant-Alpecin would continue its grass-roots development programme and have a development team in Germany in the future, strengthening the team’s links to the country.
“With our German licences comes an obligation to be an ambassador. To be an ambassador you have to contribute to cycling in this country in a meaningful way. You have to add value and it has to be structural, starting with the grass roots, where the future of the sport lies,” he said.
“Cycling is such a tough sport that you can’t just pick races and try to win them. Our perspective as a team is to look at thins as a process. It might sound a little boring but the key for us in the process is that the world’s best talents always want to come to our team. From that pool of talent we look for the riders with the right skills set and also with the right personality that fit into the group and with our way of working. We have quite a demanding elite sport approach. With that strategy we keep on delivering new world stars of the sport. At least that’s our aim, to grow our team organically and so to keep performing better and better.”
Cyclingnews will have further news and interview from Berlin later today.