Giant-Shimano Tour Down Under Preview
The 2014 race season finally gets underway this week for recently annouced Team Giant-Shimano with the opening WorldTour race of the season, the Tour Down Under in Australia.
This six-day race is getting tougher year-on-year but there are opportunities for all types of riders over the course of the six stages.
The race warmed-up with an opening criterium, The People’s Choice Classic, on Sunday 19th just to get the wheels turning, and the team got off to a perfect start with Marcel Kittel (GER) taking his first win of 2014. But the real racing gets going on Tuesday 21st with a 135km opening stage from Nuriootpa to Angaston.
The weather will play a big factor during the week with extreme heat currently basking the country, but the Team Giant-Shimano riders have been training there for a few days now so should be on their way to being acclimatised.
“We’ve got two goals for this race,” said coach Addy Engels. “We have Marcel who will be looking to get up there in the sprint stages and we also have Simon Geschke (GER) to try for a more difficult stage. Marcel is already looking fast, and showed this with yesterday’s criterium win, but we will see how the race goes stage-by-stage.
“The race is getting harder each year, and this year there’s more opportunities for different riders to do something.”
Kittel said: “The Tour Down Under is the first race of the year for me and to be honest I just want to get off to a good start, to find my racing legs and to practice the lead-out. Winning the opening criterium was good for our confidence but I will take the opportunities as they come.”
Tour Down Under 2014 Giant-Shimano Line Up:
Nikias Arndt (GER)
Johannes Fröhlinger (GER)
Simon Geschke (GER)
Thierry Hupond (FRA)
Marcel Kittel (GER)
Koen De Kort (NED)
Tom Peterson (USA)
Addy Engels (NED)