Giant-Shimano: Race Preview 3rd – 9th February
RACE PREVIEW: Dubai Tour
The international cycling calendar is constantly expanding and this Wednesday sees the start of the first Dubai Tour (2.1).
Marcel Kittel (GER) leads Team Giant-Shimano at this new race favouring the fast men, supported by a strong group including Lawson Craddock (USA) in his first outing for the team.
The race starts with a 9.9km individual time trial followed by three road stages which are all fast, flat and windy prospects.
“Our goal for Dubai will be to get the sprint train up to race-speed and off the back of this get a stage win with Marcel,” said coach Aike Visbeek (NED).
“The riders are very motivated and ready to go after a productive three-week training camp. The race should be an exciting one with short, fast, windy stages so we will have to stay concentrated all the time.”
Bert De Backer (BEL)
Lawson Craddock (USA)
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA)
Cheng Ji (CHN)
Marcel Kittel (GER)
Koen De Kort (NED)
Ramon Sinkeldam (NED)
Tom Veelers (NED)
Aike Visbeek (NED).
RACE PREVIEW: Étoile de Bessèges
Also on Wednesday a team of eight riders will line up at the five-day Étoile de Bessèges in the south of France. The team is formed mostly of the riders who raced the GP Marseillaise on Sunday, where John Degenkolb (GER) took fourth.
“The guys worked really well on Sunday and showed they had some good form coming into Bessèges,” said coach Christian Guiberteau (FRA). “The weather often makes it a difficult race and the GC can be quickly lost in the crosswinds.
“The final time trial will be important and it will be the first race outing for the guys on their Giant Trinity Advanced SL bikes. Like Marseille we will aim to work well together and adapt to different scenarios.”
Étoile de Bessèges
Jonas Ahlstrand (SWE)
Roy Curvers (NED)
John Degenkolb (GER)
Dries Devenyns (BEL)
Chad Haga (USA)
Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE)
Tom Stamsnijder (NED)
Albert Timmer (NED)
Christian Guiberteau (FRA).
RACE PREVIEW: Ladies Tour of Qatar
The women’s season gets underway this week as well, and the Team Giant-Shimano ladies will kick off their year with a familiar race – the Ladies Tour of Qatar – especially for Kirsten Wild (NED) who has won here three times before including last year’s edition.
The race heavily favours the sprinters, and Kirsten winning three of the four stages last year is proof of that. She returns this year to try and add a fourth title to her palmares.
Team Giant-Shimano coach Ruud Verhagen said: “The main goal in Qatar is to go for the GC with Kirsten, and we will have the duty to take this on with the 2013 winner in our line-up.”
Ladies Tour of Qatar
Sara Mustonen (SWE)
Amy Pieters (NED)
Maaike Polspoel (BEL)
Julia Soek (NED)
Marijn de Vries (NED)
Kirsten Wild (NED)
Ruud Verhagen (NED).