Argos-Shimano announces long list for the Tour de France
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Monday, June 11, 2012

Argos-Shimano announces long list for the Tour de France

by Ben Atkins at 2:08 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
John Degenkolb too young for race debut with Olympics and Worlds in his sights

marcel kittelArgos-Shimano has announced its long-list of fourteen riders, from which the nine man team for the Tour de France will be selected. The Dutch team is the one non-French outfit of the four Professional Continental squads that has been awarded a wildcard invitation to the biggest race on the calendar. It last rode the Tour in 2009 - as Skil-Shimano - and despite riding aggressively in the race, has been disappointed to miss out ever since as race organiser ASO favoured local teams.

The team looks set to give a Tour debut to German sprinter Marcel Kittel, who took an incredible 18 victories in his debut season last year, including a stage in the Vuelta a España. The 24-year-old German has already taken five wins so far this season, including the Scheldeprijs, with a number of big name scalps to his name.

Missing out though, is Kittel’s 23-year-old compatriot John Degenkolb, who has been deemed too young for his debut in the race.

“John has had a busy spring, riding almost all the spring classics and many stage races team manager Iwan Spekenbrink explained. “At this point the Tour de France is too much for him. John is a talented rider, but still just 22 [actually 23 since January - ed]. The Tour de France comes a year too early for him.”

Degenkolb is in the German selection for the Olympic Games, and prefers to focus on that, as well as the Vuelta a España and the World championships in Valkenburg, Netherlands. “I want to do well in those races,” he explained. “Next year however, I want to shine in the Tour de France. It will be my main goal. It is my dream to win the green jersey.”

With the team only ever having made that single appearance in the race, most of the riders selected are Tour debutants, with the exception of Thierry Hupond, Koen de Kort and Albert Timmer, who all rode in 2009, and Mathieu Sprick who has ridden five Tours, all for his previous team Bbox Bouygues Telecom.

The complete nine-man team will be announced next Tuesday, July 19th.

Argos-Shimano pre-selection for the Tour de France
Marcel Kittel, Simon Geschke, Johannes Fröhlinger, Patrick Gretsch, Tom Veelers, Koen de Kort, Albert Timmer, Roy Curvers, Tom Stamsnijder, Alexandre Geniez, Yann Huguet, Thierry Hupond, Mathieu Sprick and Bert De Backer


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