Kittel and Degenkolb top Dutch team's short list
Mass sprints and stage wins will dominate for Team Argos-Shimano in the Tour de France, starting in just over two weeks. Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb head the short list for the Tour squad. But the team emphasized that all riders will have a chance to ride for themselves in breakaways.
“When we got together with the coaches to discuss this Tour de France, we saw that our sprint train would have some good opportunities to demonstrate its speed in different scenarios. We also expect that on some of the stages offensive riders could stay away to the finish, and we expect to play a role in these breaks,” said general manager Iwan Spekenbrink.
“We’ve worked from the start of this team to develop the strength and value of each rider, with a staff structure built around the riders to help them improve. We’ve created dedicated training plans for each individual, focused on their specialty, and have adopted the latest innovations to make sure we’re giving ourselves the best possible chance of success and not leaving any details to chance.”
Spekenbrink made it clear, though, that the sprints have top priority. Kittel has ten wins so far this season, including the overall title in the Tour de Picardie, and most recently won the mass sprint ahead of Andre Greipel in Sunday's Garmin ProRace Berlin. Degenkolb has only one win this year, but it was a stage of the Giro d'Italia, but he dominated the sprints in the Vuelta a Espana in 2012, with five stage wins. It would be his first Tour. Kittel started the Tour in 2012, but had to abandon early on due to illness.
“We are reviewing the capabilities and characteristics of the preselected riders to create the best team and sprint train possible,” Spekenbrink said.
The 13 pre-selected riders are Bert De Backer, Roy Curvers, John Degenkolb, Tom Dumoulin, Johannes Fröhlinger, Simon Geschke, Yann Huguet, Thierry Hupond. Marcel Kittel, Koen de Kort, Ramon Sinkeldam, Albert Timmer, and Tom Veelers.
The team will announce its line-up at its Tour de France presentation on June 18.
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