Matthews and Kelderman headline Sunweb at Tour de France in Dumoulin's absence

Michael Matthews and Wilco Kelderman will headline Team Sunweb at the Tour de France in the absence of the injured Tom Dumoulin. Giro d'Italia stage winner Chad Haga has also been selected, together with new arrival Nicolas Roche.

Youngsters Lennard Kämna and Cees Bol make their Tour debuts, while Nikias Arndt and Søren Kragh Andersen also feature in the squad.

Sunweb's Tour planning had centred around Dumoulin's GC challenge, but the Dutchman had to rule himself out of the race last week after he failed to recover from the knee injury that he sustained in a crash on stage 4 of the Giro d'Italia.

After abandoning the Giro, Dumoulin returned to action in time to line out at the Critérium du Dauphiné, but he left the race ahead of the final weekend in the mountains in order to undergo surgery to remove a shard of gravel from his injured knee. Four days later, Dumoulin confirmed that he would miss the Tour, and will instead target the Vuelta a España and Worlds time trial.

In Dumoulin's absence, Sunweb's focus will shift to hunting stage victories, even though Matthews last week downplayed his prospects of regaining the green jersey he won in 2017, telling NOS that he had not done any sprint training in anticipation of riding the Tour in support of Dumoulin.

"This year our focus at the Tour de France will be to go for stage success throughout the race. We have been in this situation before when we have had to change from a GC goal to focusing on stage results and I am confident we can do well again," said Sunweb directeur sportif Aike Visbeek.

"We'll have opportunities for good results with Michael in the sprint stages and reduced bunch sprints. Nikias will be our captain and with Giro stage winner Chad, we bring extra power for the both the TTT and TT. With Wilco, Nicholas and Søren we aim for opportunities in the more difficult hilly and mountain stages."

Wilco Kelderman placed 4th overall on the 2017 Vuelta, but it remains to be seen if the 28-year-old will mount a GC challenge on the Tour after enduring a truncated 2019 campaign to to this point. He was originally slated to ride the Giro in support of Dumoulin but was ruled out of the race after breaking his collarbone at the Volta a Catalunya. He returned to competition at last week's Tour de Suisse, placing 29th overall.

Team Sunweb for the 2019 Tour de France: Søren Kragh Andersen (Den), Nikias Arndt (Ger), Cees Bol (Ned), Chad Haga (USA), Lennard Kämna (Ger), Wilco Kelderman (Ned), Michael Matthews (Aus), Nicholas Roche (Irl)


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