Giant-Shimano Yorkshire Reconnaissance
Team Giant-Shimano yesterday completed a three-day route reconnaissance of the opening stages of the 2014 Tour de France in Yorkshire to familiarise themselves with the routes and also what to expect come July.
The first day the riders looked at the final 120km of Stage 1, followed by a similar distance of Stage 2 on day two, before returning to look again at Stage 1 on the third and final day.
The riders present were Bert De Backer (BEL), John Degenkolb (GER), Marcel Kittel (GER), Koen De Kort (NED), Albert Timmer (NED) and Tom Veelers (NED), together with trainer, Adriaan Helmantel (NED) and also coach, Rudi Kemna (NED).
The riders attending the camp are not necessarily those that will be lining up for the Tour de France, and a more accurate list will be announced in due course.
Marcel Kittel (GER)
“The route reconnaissance has been very important to get to know what is ahead of us in July and so we can start making plans for these situations.
“We started with Stage 1 and this already gave a good idea of what Yorkshire is like with its narrow twisting roads which will already be hard for a peloton of 200 riders to safely navigate.
“But I think we can be confident about Stage 1 as a team.
“Stage 2 was very difficult and will be more like a hilly classic than a stage of the Tour. We rode the second half and we already did over 1500m of climbing so if you double that it is going to be very difficult.
“Stage 1 is the first target for us and a chance for the team to get the yellow jersey again.”
John Degenkolb (GER)
“I joined the team in Yorkshire for the second day but got the chance to go back and see Stage 1 before leaving. Having now ridden it I think we can be confident about this stage for sure.
“It will be a fast stage and it is up and down until 50km to go where it gets easier for a fast run into the finish. I am already looking forward to this stage and as a team we can be very confident for this.
“We rode Stage 2 in very bad weather conditions so this made it feel worse but it is going to be a tough stage. There are some very steep climbs and it reminds me of a Tirreno stage.
“We will start with a focus on Stage 1 and then go from there, and see what position we are in for Stage 2.”
Rudi Kemna (NED)
“As a coach it is good to see the stages ahead of the so that you have an idea of what sort of plans to make and to start thinking about tactics and discussing it with the riders and the other coaches.
“We have to play to everyone’s strengths and I think we can be happy with the profile of Stage 1 here in Yorkshire.
“Stage 2 is very difficult. We looked at the profile of the stage before and knew it would be tough but when you’re actually out there it is much more evident. We will assess our options for this stage but Stage 1 will be our first goal.”
Adriaan Helmantel (NED)
“For me it is very important to see the stages and the profiles of the roads and climbs that the riders will race on at the Tour. This knowledge allows us to prepare as best as possible with the riders and the coaches to arrive in July in as best shape as possible.
“Like the others, I am confident about our chances for Stage 1 but Stage 2 will be a much different race altogether.
“We have other options to go for on a tough stage like this though.
“I am now heading down to Cambridge to see the parcours for Stage 3 which we can expect to be another sprint showdown in London. This will be a real spectacle in the city and it will be another big chance for Marcel and the team to get a result.”