Giant-Alpecin have announced its nine-rider 2015 Giro d'Italia line up with Luka Mezgec to lead the team's ambitions of stage wins. At last year's Giro, Marcel Kittel won two stages of the race before withdrawing due to illness with Mezgec claimed victory on the final stage in Trieste.
Several opportunists, principally Simon Geschke, have also been selected for the Italian grand tour which start in San Lorenzo on May 9 with a team time trial.
Mezgec opened his 2015 account at the Tour de Haut Var but has since failed to better than 20th and will be hoping to reverse that trend at next month's Giro.
"I am in very good form at the moment. Over the last four weeks I have trained very hard, and in the Tour de Romandie I will get the chance to gain racing rhythm," said Mezgec, the winner of the closing stage of last year's Giro. We are heading to the Giro with a strong and balanced team that will aim at sprint success, and I am happy to have great team support for that."
The team coach Addy Engels added that the team will be primarily chasing stage wins for a third straight year.
"Our primary target will be the sprint stages with Mezgec, as we have a strong lead-out team including Nikias Arndt, Bert De Backer and Tom Veelers," Engels said. "With Simon Geschke, Caleb Fairly and Tobias Ludvigsson we have riders who can aim for a good stage result from a breakaway as well. As I said earlier, we will determine our strategy from day to day."
Americans Chad Haga and Caleb Fairly make their Giro debuts while Cheng Ji returns to the race having become the first Chinese rider to start the Giro in 2013.
Giant-Alpecin for the 2015 Giro d'Italia: Nikias Arndt (Ger), Bert De Backer (Bel), Caleb Fairly (USA), Simon Geschke (Ger),Chad Haga (USA), Cheng Ji (Chn), Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe), Luka Mezgec (Slo) and Tom Veelers (Ned).