Sprinter Marcel Kittel will lead the charge for Team Argos-Shimano at the Santos Tour Down Under next month. The German has enjoyed a remarkable year on the bike, with his first victory of 2013 coming in the Tour of Oman’s opening stage. He shone at the 100th edition of the Tour de France, claiming the first yellow jersey of the race after prevailing in a tight finish on the island of Corsica. Kittel took a total of four Tour de France stages and edged out rival Mark Cavendish to win on the Champs-Élysées and take fourth place in the green jersey points standings.
Santos Tour Down Under race director Mike Turtur said fans could look forward to seeing the 25-year-old power to the finish at city and regional stages.
“There’s nothing like seeing the power generated by the fastest men in road cycling and Marcel Kittel is certainly in that group,” Mr Turtur said. “Along with wins at the Tour of Oman and Tour de France Marcel took out three stages at the Tour of Turkey and won the Tour de Picardie. He’s in great shape and we look forward to seeing him go up against other powerful sprinters in the first UCI WorldTour event of the year.”
There will be opportunities for Marcel Kittel (GER) to test out his speed after a winter of hard training, right from the opening Classic, but the race will eventually decided by the punchy climbers and the team has riders who can play their cards on the tougher stages too.
“It will of course be our aim to take the sprint opportunities with Marcel in the team, but there aren’t that many sprints,” said sports manager, Addy Engels. “With Simon Geschke we have someone with us for the tougher stages. Some of the stage profiles are perfect for him and if they come down to a small group sprint he is fast.”
The Argos-Shimano team competing at the 2014 Santos Tour Down Under will be led by manager Addy Engels and includes riders Nikias Arndt (Germany), Johannes Martin Fröhlinger (Germany), Simon Geschke (Germany), Thierry Hupond (France), Marcel Kittel (Germany), Koen de Kort (Netherlands) and Thomas Peterson (United States).