Kittel has marked himself as one of the top sprinters in the world, and has taken five victories already this season. This will be the first time that he has taken on the Giro d’Italia. “Our first goal for the Giro d’Italia is to go for a stage and there are plenty of early opportunities for this with several flat days,” said Kittel.
“I got the Tour de Romandie off to a strong start yesterday in the prologue and hope to have a good week of preparation here with some hard racing kilometres to get me ready for the start of the Giro next week.”
The German finished third in the prologue in Ascona and will be the hot favourite when the race flattens out on the final two days. At the Giro, Kittel will be supported Luka Mezgec, who is also a contender for the hillier sprint stages. Mezgec is not far behind his teammate in the winning stakes, with three stages of the Volta a Catalunya and one at the Handzame Classic.
Outside of the sprints Giant-Shimano don’t have any real general classification and will look to go on the attack with the likes of Tobias Ludvigsson, Georg Preidler and Simon Geschke - who finished second to Alberto Contador on stage five of Tirreno-Adriatico.
“Opportunities like these are great for learning and development, as being out front in the final stages of a Grand Tour stage is no easy feat,” explained directeur sportif Addy Engels. “This worked well last year and Tobias very nearly pulled off a big result, finishing fourth on stage 9 after a long breakaway. We will be looking for similar stages and will take it day-by-day without an immediate focus on the overall GC.”
Giant-Shimano team for the Giro d’Italia: Bert de Backer, Simon Geschke, Marcel Kittel, Tobias Ludvigsson, Luka Mezgec, Georg Preidler, Tom Stamsnijder, Albert Timmer, Tom Veelers.