After losing Simon Geschke to a broken collarbone sustained in Tirreno-Adriatico, the Giant-Alpecin team suffered another key loss for Milan-San Remo when fast finisher Nikias Arndt turned up ill. The team will replace Arndt with Bert De Backer and Geschke with Chad Haga, but is still confident it can put sprinter John Degenkolb in a position for a podium result.
“We have had some bad luck in preparation to this first monument with crashes and sickness but we will still come here with a strong line up ready to go for our goal – to get a strong result with John,” explained coach Marc Reef. “The support includes Chad who will line up for his first ever monument and is very excited to give his all for the team. With a good team performance, we should be able to make an impact on this race.”
Degenkolb was on fine form heading into last year's edition of Milan-San Remo, and was looking to improve upon his fifth place from 2012, but punctured at the foot of the Poggio and finished a distant 39th.
"It's a shame that Simon [Geschke] is out of the race as he plays a good role on this course, and Nikias [Arndt] too, but we have a strong team with everyone here in decent condition. We should not hesitate to go for the result that we are after here, to be on the podium in Sanremo."
The team previewed the course on Friday, and Degenkolb said he is feeling better after having a cold earlier in the week. "We had a good ride today, seeing the course and getting one last long ride in. I'm happy with my shape and how I am feeling and am looking forward to Sunday," he said. "After Paris-Nice you need some time to recover, too, it has been a steady week, and I had a small cold at the start of the week but I am feeling good now."
Giant-Alpecin for Milan-San Remo: John Degenkolb, Bert de Backer, Roy Curvers, Tom Dumoulin, Chad Haga, Koen de Kort, Albert Timmer and Zico Waeytens.