Warren Barguil has been named in Sunweb's Vuelta a España line-up despite confirming last week that he will leave the team for Fortuneo-Oscaro at the end of this season. The Frenchman and Wilco Kelderman bring experience to a youthful selection that includes no fewer than five Grand Tour debutants.
Chris Hamilton, Søren Kragh Andersen, Lennard Hofstede, Lennard Kämna and Sam Oomen will all make their first appearances in a three-week tour, while the Sunweb roster is completed by Chad Haga and Johannes Fröhlinger.
Giro d’Italia winner Tom Dumoulin had already ruled himself out of the Vuelta, preferring to build the second half of his season around a tilt at winning the individual time trial at the World Championships in Bergen. Michael Matthews, green jersey at the Tour, will also forgo the Vuelta in favour of the Canadian WorldTour races as he prepares for the Worlds road race.
"The team have just come out of a solid period of preparation including a combination of racing and training at altitude and are all really motivated for a great race. We have completed some recons and analysis to become familiar with the important sections of the course and to help us formulate the best plan suited to our strengths in order to achieve our goal of looking for GC possibilities in Spain," said Sunweb coach Marc Reef.
Kelderman will target a high overall finish in Madrid as he seeks to bounce back from the disappointment of crashing out of the Giro at the base of the Blockhaus on stage 9. The Dutchman was signed from LottoNL-Jumbo at the start of the season to serve as Dumoulin's last man in the high mountains, but he will have the freedom to ride for himself in Spain. The 26-year-old has a solid Grand Tour pedigree, placing seventh at the 2014 Giro and 14th in his lone Vuelta appearance that same year.
Barguil has raced just once since the Tour, placing 13th at the Clasica San Sebastian. The Breton enjoyed a most successful July, winning two stages of the Tour and the king of the mountains classification, and placing 10th overall in Paris. Barguil won two stages of the Vuelta as a neo-professional in 2013 and placed 8th overall the following year.
"We have a good combination of experienced riders and young talents with huge strength and potential on our line-up," said Reef. "We want our younger riders to see what it takes to complete a three-week race and give them the opportunity to learn from our more experienced Grand Tour riders, without any form of pressure
Sam Oomen impressed at the recent Tour de Pologne, placing seventh overall, and he also performed strongly at the Critérium du Dauphiné in June, where he finished 14th. Another neophyte, Søren Kragh Andersen, showcased his potential with a fine stage win at the Tour of Oman in February and an aggressive showing at Gent-Wevelgem.
The Vuelta was not initially in the plans of neo-professional Chris Hamilton but the 21-year-old has adapted well to the demands of WorldTour racing and has been rewarded with a Grand Tour debut in his first season at the top level.
The Vuelta gets underway in Nimes, France on August 19 and concludes in Madrid on September 10.
Sunweb team for Vuelta a España: Søren Kragh Andersen (Den), Warren Barguil (Fra), Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger), Chad Haga (USA), Chris Hamilton (Aus), Lennard Hofstede (Ned), Lennard Kämna (Ger), Wilco Kelderman (Ned), Sam Oomen (Ned).
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