Volta ao Algarve: Sunweb opt for youth to start 2018 European season

Oomen leads GC aim in Portugal

Team Sunweb will make its 2018 European racing debut at the Volta ao Algarve with confirmation its seven-rider team for the five-stage race. The 2.HC Volta ao Algarve takes place 14-18 February in the south of Portugal.

Sunweb will go into the race with a youthful but balanced squad that includes the experienced duo of Laurens ten Dam and Simon Geschke. Sam Oomen provides the team with a general classification option at the race while Australian Jai Hindley will make his debut for Sunweb following his move into the WorldTour ranks in 2018.

Oomen and Chad Haga are the only riders in the squad who have already pinned on race numbers for 2018 having started the season in Australia.

Arthur van Dongen will be in control for the race with the Sunweb coach outlining the team plans from Wednesday.

"We're looking forward to a good week in Portugal for the Volta ao Algarve, for many of our riders it's their first race of the season and everyone is really motivated to get back into racing after a good rest and training period," said van Dongen.

Van Dongen added the versatility of the squad will hopefully place his riders in stage winning opportunities and is looking to the stage 3 time trial as a chance to make a mark.

"The parcours provide a real good mix of terrain with two sprint stages, two uphill finishes and an individual time trial. Although we don't have a pure sprinter we still have some cards to play, and on the uphill finishes we will look to position Simon and Sam well going into the final climb," he said.

"We have some really strong time trialists in Chad and Lennard [Kämna], so we will also look for a result on the third stage. The race provides a really good opportunity for our young riders to make good steps in their level of intensity at this stage of the season against a really strong field of WorldTour teams."

Having started its season at the Tour Down Under and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in January, Sunweb is also racing the Tour of Oman from Tuesday. 2017 Giro d'Italia winner Tom Dumoulin is set to make his season debut next week at the Abu Dhabi Tour.

Team Sunweb for Volta ao Algarve: Laurens ten Dam, Simon Geschke, Chad Haga, Jai Hindley, Lennard Hofstede, Lennard Kämna and Sam Oomen.

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