Marcel Kittel will spearhead the sprint aspirations of Giant-Alpecin at Saturday's 1.HC Brussels Cycling Classic while Warren Barguil will be free to chance his luck in the finale. In an illness interrupted season, Kittel claimed his first WorldTour win of the season last month at the Tour de Pologne which also helped him secure the points jersey.
Kittel was off the pace at the Vattenfall Cyclassics post-Poland, and then failed to finish the GP Ouest France - Plouay last weekend but Giant-Alpecin coach Rudi Kemna believes the 27-year-old can be a contender for victory.
"Our main goal will be to sprint with Marcel in Brussels, as we are bringing a strong team with a lot of lead-out experience to Saturday’s race," Kemna said of the team's tactics for the race.
22-year-old stagiaire Max Walscheid makes his second appearance for the team after debuting at the Arctic Tour of Norway in August and will be free from expectation at the 200.8km race as Kemna added.
"For Max it will be a new experience, and his main goal is to learn. If he is able to play a role in the finale it will be purely a bonus, as there will be no pressure on him," he said.
Kittel will be able to call upon Roy Curvers and Bert De Backer for his sprint train with the 'breakaway killer' Cheng Ji another key contributor in the quest for victory.
Having placed ninth at Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian and eighth at the 2016 Rio Olympics test event early last month, Barguil will look to disrupt the rival team's sprint trains as the 23-year-old has been given the freedom to "join possible attacks in the finale."
The team decided against starting in last year's race, won by Andre Greipel, but will look to at least match its 2013 result when John Degenkolb was second.
Giant-Alpecin for Brussels Cycling Classic: Marcel Kittel, Roy Curvers, Bert De Backer, Max Walscheid, Warren Barguil, Caleb Fairly, Cheng Ji and Carter Jones.