Giant-Alpecin have announced a 13-rider long list for the 2015 Tour de France, spearheaded by Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb. Kittel has won four stages at each of the last two editions of the Tour de France, including the Champs-Élysées twice, although has been hampered by illness so far this season. Degenkolb, who has won nine stages at the Vuelta a España and one stage at the Giro d'Italia, will be aiming for a debut Tour win to complete his grand tour hat trick after a successful classics campaign in which he won Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix.
Warren Barguil will make his long awaited Tour debut having ridden the last two editions of the Vuelta.
"Our primary target will be stage success, and our long list for this year's Tour should offer possibilities to achieve this goal," said coach Marc Reef.
The 102nd edition of the Tour starts in Utrecht with a 14km time trial, suited to current Dutch time trial champion Tom Dumoulin who won the final day race against the clock at the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco in April. There is a strong Dutch contingent in the long list with Roy Curvers, Koen de Kort, Ramon Sinkeldam, Albert Timmer and Tom Veelers also named alongside Dumoulin.
With the first week of the Tour skirting the Northern coast of the Netherlands and Belgium before visiting the cobbles of France, Reef added that the team has visited several of the sites which its believes will be crucial in those first few days.
"In preparation for the Tour, we have already completed a recon of the first two stages that take place in the Netherlands and the cobblestones on stage four," Reef added.
The final nine-man team will be announced after a training camp and several races in June explained Reef.
"A few members of the team will start their specific preparation at the end of this month at the high-altitude training camp in Sierra Nevada, Spain," he said. "The final race preparations will be made at the Critérium du Dauphiné, Tour de Suisse and Ster ZLM Toer."
Giant-Alpecin Tour de France long list: Warren Barguil (Fra), Roy Curvers (Ned), Bert De Backer (Bel), John Degenkolb (Ger), Tom Dumoulin (Ned), Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger), Simon Geschke (Ger), Marcel Kittel (Ger), Koen de Kort (Ned), Georg Preidler (Aut), Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned), Albert Timmer (Ned) and Tom Veelers (Ned).