Giant-Alpecin have named their rosters for Saturday's Vuelta a Murcia and the Tour of Oman, which starts next week.
Dubai Tour stage winner John Degenkolb will lead the seven-rider Murcia squad, which will see American Caleb Fairly competing with his new team for the first time. Two-time Vuelta a Espana sage winner Warren Barguil will lead the eight-rider team in Oman, where former Bissell and Optum rider Carter Jones will debut with the team.
"Murcia looks like it will be a tough course, and the race situation may have an impact on whether John can make it over the final climb within reaching distance of the leaders," said Giant-Alpecin director Christian Guiberteau. "It will be a course where we look to race on the front foot and go for the breaks from early on so we don't have to take responsibility.
"In this early season phase it is always important to work on getting the autonomy of teamwork back into the head and this is also an important goal for this race," Guiberteau said. "It will also be a good test for Daan [Olivier] on the climbs to see where he is at after his preparation over the past months."
Racing in the Middle East will continue next week at the Tour of Oman (February 17-22), but the flat parcours that have favored the sprinters and rouleurs will give way to mountains for the first time this year. Barguil and the rest of the Oman peloton will get three flat days before the Queen stage and its mountain-top finish.
Barguil will be joined by Jones in his first race with the team, as well as Nikias Arndt, Bert De Backer, Georg Preidler, Ramon Sinkeldam, Tom Stamsnijder and Tom Veelers, all of whom come to the race from the Tour of Qatar.
"Oman is a very different race to Qatar so we are changing our team slightly here," said director Marc Reef. "Warren and Carter come in, and it will be the start of their season here. For Warren it's a good chance to see how far he has come over the winter, and to test for a result. It will be Carter's first race and the focus here will be to integrate him into the team and to our way of working.
"It's a diverse race with up to four possible sprints, including three pure sprints and one power sprint," Reef said. "There's also one uphill finish and another difficult stage. Alongside Warren we also have sprinters Nikias and Ramon, so we will look to take our opportunities there too."
Giant-Alpecin roster for Vuelta a Murcia:
John Degenkolb, Caleb Fairly, Johannes Fröhlinger, Chad Haga, Thierry Hupond, Tobias Ludvigsson, Daan Olivier
Giant-Alpecin roster for Tour of Oman:
Nikias Arndt, Warren Barguil, Bert De Backer, Carter Jones, Georg Preidler, Ramon Sinkeldam, Tom Stamsnijder, Tom Veelers