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Kittel ready to open 2015 account in Australia

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Marcel Kittel meets the press ahead of the Tour Down Under.

Marcel Kittel meets the press ahead of the Tour Down Under.
(Image credit: Wessel van Keuk/Bettini Photo)
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Koen de Kort trains in Australia ahead of the Tour Down Under.

Koen de Kort trains in Australia ahead of the Tour Down Under.
(Image credit: Wessel van Keuk/Bettini Photo)
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Giant-Alpecin rider Chad Haga's talents extend beyond the bicycle.

Giant-Alpecin rider Chad Haga's talents extend beyond the bicycle.
(Image credit: Wessel van Keuk/Bettini Photo)
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Chad Haga tickles the ivory at the race hotel.

Chad Haga tickles the ivory at the race hotel.
(Image credit: Wessel van Keuk/Bettini Photo)
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The Giant-Alpecin line-up for Tour Down Under.

The Giant-Alpecin line-up for Tour Down Under.
(Image credit: Wessel van Keuk/Bettini Photo)
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Chad Haga trains in Australia ahead of the Tour Down Under.

Chad Haga trains in Australia ahead of the Tour Down Under.
(Image credit: Wessel van Keuk/Bettini Photo)
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Lawson Craddock trains in Australia ahead of the Tour Down Under.

Lawson Craddock trains in Australia ahead of the Tour Down Under.
(Image credit: Wessel van Keuk/Bettini Photo)
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Lawson Craddock

Lawson Craddock
(Image credit: Wessel van Keuk/Bettini Photo)
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Koen De Kort

Koen De Kort
(Image credit: Wessel van Keuk/Bettini Photo)
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Chad Haga

Chad Haga
(Image credit: Wessel van Keuk/Bettini Photo)

Giant-Alepcin will start the new season with a Santos Tour Down Under line up that includes two of the Dutch squad's top performers from last season in Marcel Kittel and Tom Dumoulin.

Although the team will focus their efforts on the general classification hopes of Dumoulin and Simon Geschke, Kittel will no doubt take a run at any sprint opportunities, including repeating his win last year at the People's Choice Classic two days before the WorldTour race starts.

“Our main focus will be for Tom and Simon to go for the GC, that is our overall target,” said team director Addy Engels. “But when you start a race with Marcel in the team you have to have an eye on the sprint opportunities.

“The team is not built around the sprints, so we will adapt to the opportunities that come and test his shape in that way. We work hard to plan detailed race programs for all of the riders, and so it is nice to look forward to racing now after lots of planning and preparation."

Kittel, Dumoulin and Geschke will be joined in the Australian races by Koen De Kort, Albert Timmer, Lawson Craddock and Chad Haga. The seven riders will be the first to race in team's new 2015 colours.

“It’s a nice way for me to start the season and to find my legs again after the winter training,” Kittel said. “Adelaide is a beautiful place and it is a relaxing way to start the 2015 season.”

The absence of André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol), who is starting his 2015 season at February's Mallorca Challenge in Spain, only increases Kittel's chances for a repeat in the People's Choice Classic or any Tour Down Under sprint opportunities.

Giant-Alpecin for Tour Down Under:
Lawson Craddock (USA), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Simon Geschke (GER), Chad Haga (USA), Marcel Kittel (GER), Koen De Kort (NED), Albert Timmer (NED). Director: Addy Engels (NED)

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