Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb head Argos-Shimano Tour de France team
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb head Argos-Shimano Tour de France team

by Ben Atkins at 5:59 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Two-pronged sprint attack for ambitious Dutch team

marcel kittelArgos-Shimano has become the second team to reveal its nine-man Tour de France roster, with less than two weeks to go until the race gets started on the island of Corsica. The Dutch team will be built around the talents of its two German sprinters, as Marcel Kittel starts his second edition of the race, and John Degenkolb makes his debut.

“We will be looking for stage wins at this Tour de France and have lined up the strongest team possible to achieve this. In the flat stages, Marcel Kittel will be leading our team to sprint success,” explained sports manager Christian Guiberteau. “When the bunch hits some of the hillier stages, we have Giro stage winner John Degenkolb who can be successful. We are also looking forward to seeing a strong sprint train.”

Kittel took a stage victory in his Grand Tour debut, at the 2011 Vuelta a España, but fell victim to illness in the opening week of last year’s Tour de France and was forced to abandon on stage five. The 25-year-old has taken eleven victories so far this season, however, including the third stage of last week’s Ster ZLM Toer where he beat both Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol).

24-year-old Degenkolb took five stage in last year’s Vuelta, and took his Giro d’Italia stage last month after sprinting for almost the entire final kilometre as one of the few to avoid a last corner pile up.

Kittel and Degenkolb will come up against both Cavendish and Greipel at the Tour, as well as defending green jersey champion Peter Sagan (Cannondale), but Guiberteau is confident that the team’s work on its sprint train will pay dividends in July.

john degenkolb“Creating the perfect sprint train takes years, said Guiberteau. “The key to our train is the combination of science and experience. All the team members can anticipate a situation very well and have the experience to handle all possible scenarios. Extensive evaluations post-race makes the difference, together with the best equipment, specific training plans and scientific experts who provide us with unique and useful data about the riders and individual race courses.”

Aside from Kittel and Degenkolb, the ambitious Argos-Shimano team - which is spending its first year at WorldTour level - will be looking for opportunities in a number of other areas.
“In addition to contesting the sprint stages, we will adopt an offensive strategy for the tougher stages,” explained Guiberteau. “All the riders, especially in the second part of the Tour, will have their chance to chase individual success. In the time trial we are looking forward to seeing Tom Dumoulin, who has made huge improvements this season. Simon Geschke is also capable of making the difference when the course includes some hills and he can envisage some strong results.
“Tom Veelers and Koen de Kort will be the most important lead-out men for the sprint stages. Veelers has a big engine in the last 500m but his true additional value is that he knows and feels what a sprinter knows and feels. De Kort will be important for Degenkolb in the hillier stages, and we expect him to be aiming for the breaks in the second half of the Tour.
“Albert Timmer, Roy Curvers and Johannes Fröhlinger are all huge team players. Curvers is our brain on the bike and the road captain to guide the team in the sprint stages. Timmer is an invisible force and knows without question what he needs to do and when. Before anyone else thinks about it, he has already done it. I also see him in a break in one of the more difficult stages. Fröhlinger is also a very intelligent rider and knows what to do. He will play an important role in chasing down breaks, but he can also make the difference in hillier stages”

Argos-Shimano team for the Tour de France
Roy Curvers, John Degenkolb, Tom Dumoulin, Johannes Fröhlinger, Simon Geschke, Marcel Kittel, Koen de Kort, Albert Timmer and Tom Veelers


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