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“Although Marcel was a bit sick last week, we will still count on him in the sprints, especially in the second and third stages. In addition to the sprints, we have with Tom Dumoulin - a man who is in shape and who has the ability to...

Photo: Argos-Shimano














26.03.2013 @ 11:20 Posted by Jesper Johannesen

Argos-Shimano enters this week's Driedaagse van de Panne with a dual objective. Star sprinter Marcel Kittel will take aim at the expected bunch sprints while talented time triallist Tom Dumoulin will focus on the general classification.


For some teams, the Driedaagse van de Panne is mostly a preparation race ahead of this Sunday's Tour of Flanders. For other teams, the 2.HC ranked race is an opportunity to go for results in one of Belgium's biggest stage races.


Team Argos-Shimano enter the race with the latter approach. While Flanders captain John Degenkolb rest his legs ahead of his biggest objectives, the team has brought in two leaders particularly aiming at this week's racing.


With Marcel Kittel's only classics objective being a repeat victory in next week's Scheldeprijs, the German sprinter is firmly focused on the three days ahead of him. He will target the likely sprints in the second and third stages and will try to repeat last year's success where he won Wednesday's stage. However, he will face fierce competition by a string of world class sprinters led by Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol).


The team's other captain will be young talent Tom Dumoulin. The Dutchman is in his second year as a professional and is a strong time triallist and a decent climber. With the final day's time trial often crucial for the final GC, he will target an overall top result and thus will have to stay in contention in today's hilly stage in the Flemish Ardennes and the expected crosswinds in tomorrow's second leg.


Sports director Marc Reef sees plenty of opportunities.


“Although Marcel was a bit sick last week, we will still count on him in the sprints, especially in the second and third stages," he said. "In addition to the sprints, we have with Tom Dumoulin - a man who is in shape and who has the ability to ride a strong general classification."


Kittel and Dumoulin will be joined by key lead-out riders Tom Veelers and Roy Curvers and young talents Nikias Arndt, Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg and Luka Mezgec.


Parisien takes aim at another win

On Saturday, the team will return to its home soil when it lines up in the Volta Limburg Classic. The race is a mini Amstel Gold Race taking place in the hilly Limburg province and is usually a hard, aggressive race.


The team line up Francois Parisien who got his breakthrough last Friday with a sprint victory in the WorldTour Volta a Catalunya. He is perfectly suited to the short climbs of the race, and hi fast finish makes him a dangerous man in any sprint form a smaller group.


He will share leadership with Yann Huguet who won the race in 2010.


 “It is a course that suits François well with the short, steep climbs, and the win last week gave his self-confidence an enormous boost," sports director Addy Engels said. "With the team we will make sure that François and Yann come fresh into the finale.”


The leaders will be joined by strong climbers Thomas Damuseau, Thierry Hupond and Tobias Ludvigsson and domestiques Albert Timmer, Cheng Ji and Will Clarke.


Argos-Shimano for Driedaagse de Panne

Marcel Kittel, Tom Dumoulin, Tom Veelers, Roy Curvers, Luka Mezgec, Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg and Nikias Arndt


Argos-Shimano for Volta Limburg Classic

Francois Parisien, Yann Huguet, Tobias Ludvigsson, Thierry Hupond, Thomas Damuseau, Cheng Ji, Will Clarke and Albert Timmer



Starting today at 14.45, you can follow all the action from De Panne on Until then, you can prepare by studying our preview.



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