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Team Sunweb announce long list for Giro d'Italia

Team Sunweb have announced a long list of riders for the Giro d’Italia, with 11 riders in the frame to support Tom Dumoulin's bid for the pink jersey.

There were 13 riders named on the long list on Wednesday, including Dumoulin and Wilco Kelderman, who both confirmed their participation at the 100th corsa rosa back in January. That leaves 11 riders fighting for the final seven places in the nine-man team.

In alphabetical order, those riders are: Phil Bauhaus, Johannes Fröhlinger, Simon Geschke, Chad Haga, Sindre Skjøstad Lunke, Georg Preidler, Tom Stamsnijder, Laurens ten Dam, Mike Teunissen, Zico Waeytens, and Max Walscheid.

Ten Dam, a veteran of 13 Grand Tours but just one Giro, and Haga, the 28-year-old American who has ridden the last two editions of the Giro, look shoo-ins for selection after joining Dumoulin on an altitude training camp in Tenerife over the last couple of weeks.

Beyond that, the statement from the German-registered team indicated a weighting towards 'home' riders. "For this special Giro d'Italia a core group of German riders will be part of the final selection of the German Team Sunweb, which aims to inspire German and international fans during the three weeks of very prestigious racing in Italy," read the statement.

The Germans on the long list are Bauhaus, Fröhlinger, Geschke, and Walscheid.

Geschke is considered one of the strongest and most dependable riders at the team and looks set to make the cut, while the coaches will have to weigh up the balance of the squad when deciding whether to hand 23-year-old sprinter Walscheid his first taste of Grand Tour racing. Bauhaus represents more youth, 22 years old with no Grand Tours under his belt, while Fröhlinger is another experienced figure, 31 with 13 Grand Tours.

Belgian rider Waeytens and the Dutch duo of Teunissen and Stamsnijder were all part of the team's cobbled classics squad and provide horsepower, while Austrian Georg Preidler impressed at the Giro last year, with third on one of the mountain stages. Lunke, the Norwegian, rode the Vuelta a Espana last season in his neo-pro year.

"Our long-list consists of a mix of experienced Grand Tour riders and some who could potentially make their Grand Tour debut," said coach Aike Visbeek.

“From this we will select the strongest possible team to support Tom throughout the three weeks of racing at the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia. The course this year is challenging and demanding and will for sure go down in history. The last week is crucial but with a lot of spectacular stages early on in the race, the GC riders have no opportunity to relax.

"It will be a different approach for this year's Giro in comparison to our ambitions in previous Grand Tours, when we aimed for stage successes. We need to be focused all race long and that will be even more demanding for the team."

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