Kittel ready to open 2015 account in Australia

Sprinter's season starts Sunday at People's Choice Classic

Giant-Alepcin will start the new season with a Santos Tour Down Under line up that includes two of the Dutch squad's top performers from last season in Marcel Kittel and Tom Dumoulin.

Although the team will focus their efforts on the general classification hopes of Dumoulin and Simon Geschke, Kittel will no doubt take a run at any sprint opportunities, including repeating his win last year at the People's Choice Classic two days before the WorldTour race starts.

“Our main focus will be for Tom and Simon to go for the GC, that is our overall target,” said team director Addy Engels. “But when you start a race with Marcel in the team you have to have an eye on the sprint opportunities.

“The team is not built around the sprints, so we will adapt to the opportunities that come and test his shape in that way. We work hard to plan detailed race programs for all of the riders, and so it is nice to look forward to racing now after lots of planning and preparation."

Kittel, Dumoulin and Geschke will be joined in the Australian races by Koen De Kort, Albert Timmer, Lawson Craddock and Chad Haga. The seven riders will be the first to race in team's new 2015 colours.

“It’s a nice way for me to start the season and to find my legs again after the winter training,” Kittel said. “Adelaide is a beautiful place and it is a relaxing way to start the 2015 season.”

The absence of André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol), who is starting his 2015 season at February's Mallorca Challenge in Spain, only increases Kittel's chances for a repeat in the People's Choice Classic or any Tour Down Under sprint opportunities.

Giant-Alpecin for Tour Down Under:
Lawson Craddock (USA), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Simon Geschke (GER), Chad Haga (USA), Marcel Kittel (GER), Koen De Kort (NED), Albert Timmer (NED). Director: Addy Engels (NED)

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