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"These long races really suit me. I had a good week's preparation in Paris - Nice and am happy with my form. Winning a stage and taking the green jersey there was good for the confidence, and I am really looking forward to Sunday,&...

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ALBERT TIMMER

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BERT DE BACKER

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DRIES DEVENYNS

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HANDZAME CLASSIC

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JOHN DEGENKOLB

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JONAS AHLSTRAND

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KOEN DE KORT

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LOH SEA KEONG

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LUKA MEZGEC

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MILANO - SANREMO

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NIKIAS ARNDT

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NOKERE KOERSE

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RAMON SINKELDAM

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REINARDT JANSE VAN RENSBURG

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ROY CURVERS

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SIMON GESCHKE

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TEAM SUNWEB

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THOMAS PETERSON

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TOM STAMSNIJDER

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TOM VEELERS

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18.03.2014 @ 11:30 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Team Giant-Shimano will put all their eggs in the John Degenkolb basket when the first monument of the season, Milan-Sanremo, takes place on Sunday. After winning a stage and the points jersey in the recent Paris-Nice, the German is confident that he can improve on his fifth place from 2012 in the event.

 

The first of the 'monuments' falls this Sunday with the infamous one-day classic, Milan - Sanremo in Italy. The race has seen a late change to its parcours, with the removal of the Pompeiana climb, but it still features the classic hills to finish over, with the Cipressa and the Poggio, before descending down into Sanremo after 294km of racing.


The team will be focused on racing for John Degenkolb who has shown in the past editions of the race that he has what it takes to get to the finish at the front. Degenkolb finished fifth in 2012 and then finished just 14-seconds down on the winner last year.

Those riding in support of Degenkolb have all shown well recently, including Dries Devenyns who was strong throughout Paris - Nice, as well as Simon Geschke who was climbing well and raced to a second place on stage 5 of Tirreno-Adriactio.

"These long races really suit me," said Degenkolb. "I had a good week's preparation in Paris - Nice and am happy with my form. Winning a stage and taking the green jersey there was good for the confidence, and I am really looking forward to Sunday."

Coach, Marc Reef (NED) said: "We have a really strong line-up for this race and the guys have shown in both Paris - Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico that they are riding well.

"John will be the absolute leader for us and we have the guys to support him. The goal is to get the best possible result, and after a fifth place two years ago we have to try for more!"

 

Action in Belgium

 

Racing returns to one-day action this week as the WorldTour stage races tail off. The first race of the week comes after the conclusion of Tirreno-Adriatico in the form of Nokere Koerse - a one day semi-classic in Belgium.


The line-up for this race is a young international selection focused on gaining experience and racing for the best result possible. This includes both Chad Haga, who had his first outing on cobbles just two weeks ago at Driedaagse West Vlaanderen, and Lawson Craddock.

The last edition here in 2012 came down to a group sprint and Team Giant-Shimano have Luka Mezgec for this eventuality.

Coach, Addy Engels said: "In Luka we have a good chance if the race comes down to a sprint. Jonas Ahlstrand also showed last week that he is in good shape and will be capable of doing something at the finish.

"In addition to this we will push to be 'in the race' and it will be a good experience for most of these guys to get involved and learn more about these types of races."

 

Friday will see another one-day race with the Handzame Classic in Belgium. A few of the riders who raced on Wednesday will line up again at this semi-classic that has a tendency to finish in a bunch kick for the line.


Last year Tom Veelers finished fourth here, with Luka Mezgec just metres behind in seventh. Both these riders will return to try and better this result as a team and will be joined by Ramon Sinkeldam as he continues his preparation for the major classics and Nikias Arndt who is also capable of a result in the sprint finish.

After a week racing in France at Paris - Nice, Bert De Backer also returns to the action in Belgium, bringing his experience to the team to try to help in getting a result here at Handzame.

"The final is flat here but that's not to say it is an easy one," said Rudi Kemna, Team Giant-Shimano coach. "It is a real semi-classic with lots of corners and also some cobblestone roads to navigate.

"We have a strong team here with good sprinters in Nikias and Luka, as well as experienced guys like Tom and Bert. We will try to control the race and target a bunch sprint, and we can put our strong lead-out to good use to go for the best possible result."

 

Giant-Shimano for Milan-Sanremo:

Roy Curvers (NED)
John Degenkolb (GER)
Dries Devenyns (BEL)
Simon Geschke (GER)
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA)
Koen De Kort (NED)
Tom Stamsnijder (NED)
Albert Timmer (NED)

 

Giant-Shimano for Nokere-Koerse:

Jonas Ahlstrand (SWE)
Lawson Craddock (USA)
Chad Haga (USA)
Cheng Ji (CHN) 
Sea Keong Loh (MAL)
Luka Mezgec (SLO)
Tom Peterson (USA)

 

Giant-Shimano for Handzame Classic:

Jonas Ahlstrand (SWE)
Nikias Arndt (GER)
Bert De Backer (BEL)
Lawson Craddock (USA)
Sea Keong Loh (MAL)
Luka Mezgec (SLO)
Ramon Sinkeldam (NED) 
Tom Veelers (NED)

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