Degenkolb gunning for stage victories in Giro d’Italia, Cheng to be first Chinese rider to take part
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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Degenkolb gunning for stage victories in Giro d’Italia, Cheng to be first Chinese rider to take part

by VeloNation Press at 6:53 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Argos Shimano will focus on sprint wins and also breakaways on tougher stages

John DegenkolbHaving clocked up five stage wins in last year’s Vuelta a España, John Degenkolb and his Argos Shimano team are turning their attention to the Giro d’Italia, where they will hope to once again rack up a number of victories.

The team has confirmed that Degenkolb will lead what is a very young lineup in the race, with the squad averaging just 26 years of age.

“I hope to win a stage and we have a good team to achieve this. The Giro d’Italia is a great race, I've already been looking to start this race for while as it will be my first one,” said Degenkolb.

“After the Classics I was focusing on this race, I did lot’s of sprint exercises and of course longer endurance rides to strength my endurance especially for the longer and harder climbs we have to pass in this Giro d’Italia.

While he didn’t take part, other Argos Shimano riders competed in the recent Presidential Tour of Turkey, where Marcel Kittel won three stages. The core of that team will travel to the Giro, namely Koen de Kort, Albert Timmer, Bert de Backer, Thomas Damuseau and Cheng Ji. The lineup will be completed by Degenkolb, Patrick Gretsch, Tobias Ludvigsson and Luka Mezgec.

Degenkolb is satisfied with the composition of the squad. “Our team is sending a good group to this race; I expect a good sprint train set-up with guys like Bert De Backer Albert Timmer and lead-out man Koen de Kort, who have plenty of experience.”

Sport manager Addy Engels has laid out the team’s tactics in advance. “We have a clear goal in mind and that is sprinting for victory with John Degenkolb in this Giro d’Italia,” he explained. “When the stages become more challenging, we will use an offensive strategy, and we will give the other guys the chance for a good result in a break.”

The inclusion of Cheng in the team means that he will be the first Chinese rider to compete in the race during its long history. He previously rode the Vuelta a España and having completed that race, wants to do the same in Italy.

“The Giro d’Italia is my second grand tour after the Vuelta a España that I finished last year,” Cheng said. “I am really proud to be the first Chinese rider to start the in this race. The Chinese population will follow my participation in the Giro d’Italia and it is great to see that my team and I are known already in my home country and that we can bring attention to the sport of cycling.”

Aside from the Presidential Tour of Turkey, he was also amongst the riders who did a training camp in Altea, Spain, thus helping build condition.

Argos Shimano for Giro d’Italia:

Bert De Backer (BEL)
Thomas Damuseau (FRA)
John Degenkolb (GER)
Patrick Gretsch (GER)
Cheng Ji (CHN)
Koen de Kort (NED)
Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE)
Luka Mezgec (SLO)
Albert Timmer (NED)

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