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Kittel returns to racing at Ster ZLM Toer

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Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) won the rain-soaked first stage.

Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) won the rain-soaked first stage. (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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Tobias Ludvigsson (Giant Shimano)

Tobias Ludvigsson (Giant Shimano) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/

Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) has recovered from the fever which forced him to withdraw from the Giro d'Italia and enters the Ster ZLM Toer off the back of a period of high-altitude training. The 25-year-old repeats his Tour de France preparation from last year with his appearance at the race and will again look to win a stage as he did in 2013.

Kittel hasn't race since he won back-to-back stages at the Giro and will be hoping for a confidence boost ahead of the Tour's first stage on July 5. Joining Kittel at the UCI 2.1 race will be his usual leadout train while Tobias Ludvigsson will look for a high overall placing in his return to racing after crashing out of the Giro.

"We have two objectives for this race, the first being to go for the sprints with Marcel and to test his form ahead of the Tour, and then to go for the GC with Tobias,"  Giant-Shimano coach Rudi Kemna said ahead of the race.

"Tobias is coming back from injury so we are unsure of how his body will react but we will try here to go for a good result with him.

"There are three clear sprint opportunities for the team here and it will be a good chance to get the sprint formation back up to speed around Marcel."

Completing the team is breakaway specialist, Cheng Ji and road captain at the race, Roy Curvers.

The race begins on June 18 with a short and flat 7km individual time trial with the following day the first opportunity for the sprinters.

Giant-Shimano for Ster ZLM Toer: Roy Curvers, Bert De Backer, Cheng Ji, Marcel Kittel, Tobias Ludvigsson, Tom Stamsnijder, Albert Timmer, and Tom Veelers.

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