Sprinters Kittel and Degenkolb lead Argos-Shimano
Argos-Shimano will have two cards to play in sprint finishes after including both Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb were named in their Tour de France team.
Kittel has 11 victories this year, winning Scheldeprijs plus stages at the Tour of Oman, Paris-Nice, Tour of Turkey and Ster ZLM Toer.
While young German compatriot Degenkolb won a stage at the Giro d’Italia to add to the five he claimed at the Vuelta a Espana last year.
“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,” said sports manager Christian Guiberteau in the official announcement from the team.
“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.
“Creating the perfect sprint train takes years. 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.
Roy Curvers, Tom Dumoulin , Johannes Fröhlinger, Simon Geschke, Koen de Kort, Albert Timmer and Tom Veelers make up the rest of the team and with no GC contender, they will look to feature in breakaways.
“Tom Veelers and Koen de Kort will be the most important lead-out men for the sprint stages,” added Guiberteau.
“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.
“In addition to contesting the sprint stages, we will adopt an offensive strategy for the tougher stages. 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.
“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.”
The 100th Tour de France begins in Corisca on June 29.