Heading into the first medium mountain stage of this year's Tour de France, the Giant-Alpecin pairing of Warren Barguil and Tom Dumoulin are sitting pretty in the overall standings, both 18 seconds off Peter Sagan's (Tinkoff) lead.
On paper, Barguil is the team's designated GC leader, with Dumoulin targeting a stage win, and potential result in the overall if the race opens up for him.
"We're still in position and we've not lost time. Tom is starting to feel better and Warren is feeling good," directeur sportif Aike Visbeek told Cyclingnews.
The expectation is that the overall contenders will duke it out on the final climb but the profile of stage 5 is demanding almost throughout, with little respite. Giant-Alpecin will adopt positions of both attack and defence, with Barguil set to watch his main rivals and Dumoulin looking to fight for the stage win.
"Warren is in a good position so we'll be conservative there and see that he sticks with the GC guys. Tom is possibly a guy who we can use," Visbeek added.
Although Dumoulin has no pressure on him to perform for GC as he looks to set up his form for the Rio Olympics, Viskbeek added that the Dutch rider, who led the Giro last year and Vuelta in 2015, would not throw away his chances.
"We've said from the beginning that we're not going to throw the GC away and that helps with Warren's ambitions but for Tom it's more about taking a stage win. Today could be his day. We've seen the finish on film," he said.
"We have to wait until we hit the mountains but under normal circumstances and if everything stays as it is then Warren is our GC leader."
Dumoulin came into the race not quite at 100 per cent but in the opening days both he and Barguil have found their legs. The pair have kept out of trouble and avoided crashes, and they both stuck with the front group on stage 2, when Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) lost time.
"Tom had a few throat problems just before the Tour, so he's not completely fresh and normally in the first week he doesn't feel so great but we're in a luxury position," Visbeek said.
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