Giant-Alpecin have confirmed its squad for Sunday's Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne and the pair of 1.1 French races, Classic Sud Ardèche and La Drôme Classic this coming weekend. The team withdrew from Saturday's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad with its riders continuing to recover from a training ride accident last month in which six riders were hit by a car in Calpe, Spain, but is able to field teams in the three races
With several of its classics squad still recovering from injuries sustained in the crash, Giant-Alpecin's team at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne will feature riders coming from the Tours of Qatar and Oman, and Ruta del Sol.
"The team is progressing well and bouncing back from a difficult period following the training accident, but the riders are very eager to kick off the classics season," coach Aike Visbeek explained.
First year neo-pro Søren Kragh Andersen finished sixth at the Tour of Qatar, claiming the best young rider classification, and most recently finished third on the final stage of the Tour of Oman. Along with Belgian fastman Zico Waeytens, Visbeek explained the plan is to ride for the duo at the 1.HC race.
"The race will be an exciting one with the influence of crosswinds, so we will have to stay concentrated all the time. The objective is to support Zico and Søren and to bring them as fresh as possible to the finale," he said.
The likes of Roy Curvers, Bert De Backer and Koen de Kort will be called upon to support the protected duo while Nikias Arndt, Tom Stamsnijder and Albert Timmer complete the team.
In France, Fredrik Ludvigsson will make his second start following the Calpe accident at Classic Sud Ardèche, followed by the La Drôme Classic with the team backing his older brother Tobias for a result as Arthur van Dongen explained.
"We have selected an opportunistic team with an offensive focus here in France, which will be led by the experienced road captain Johannes. It will be a tough race but I expect Tobias to play his part in the finale. Especially with Sindre [Skjøstad Lunke] and Sam [Oomen] we also have two talented climbers, with the potential to perform well in those kinds of races," van Dongen said of the Classic Sud Ardèche.
"For La Drôme Classic we continue with the objective of racing aggressively, but also to work on getting into the mindset and rhythm of racing as a team," van Dongen added of Sunday's race, highlighting the the Mur d'Alex as a decisive climb in the race. "Our strategy will be in accordance to Saturday's Classic Sud Ardèche as Tobias is normally capable of competing in the finale."
Giant-Alpecin and Lampre-Merida are the only remaining WorldTour teams yet to claim a victory in 2016 with the German squad looking to get off the mark this weekend.
Giant-Alpecin for Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne: Søren Kragh Andersen, Nikias Arndt, Roy Curvers, Bert De Backer, Koen de Kort, Tom Stamsnijder, Albert Timmer and Zico Waeytens.
Giant-Alpecin for Classic Sud Ardèche and La Drôme Classic: Caleb Fairly, Johannes Fröhlinger, Cheng Ji, Carter Jones, Fredrik Ludvigsson, Tobias Ludvigsson, Sindre Skjøstad Lunke and Sam Oomen.
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