The 105th edition of the Tour de France kicks off July 7 in the Vendée region of France, and will cover 3229 kilometers over the course of three weeks. Team Sunweb, which achieved unprecedented success at last year’s Tour with stage wins and overall titles in both the points classification and the King of the Mountains classification, rolls into France with high hopes and a strong lineup of riders.
The team will be led by general classification contender Tom Dumoulin. Winner of the 2017 Giro d’Italia and second-place Giro finisher this year, Dumoulin hopes to make a run at the yellow jersey in this year’s Tour.
“We’ve never been to the Tour de France with a GC focus and it will be a completely new experience for us,” said Team Sunweb coach Tom Veelers. “We want to get through that process with Tom this year without any pressure on results, creating the foundations to build on in the years to come. The parcours provide the perfect platform for an exciting race, and after achieving this year’s GC goal of a podium at the Giro, we’re very motivated to head to France and look forward to seeing what it brings this year.”
Dumoulin will be supported by a strong supporting cast of teammates to protect him throughout the three weeks of racing. One of the team’s top overall riders, Wilco Kelderman, unfortunately was a late scratch after crashing at the Dutch road nationals last week, but he has been replaced by veteran Laurens ten Dam, who will be competing in his 10thTour de France.
Dumoulin will also have the support of American Chad Haga, Danish rider Søren Kragh Andersen and German Simon Geschke in the mountain stages, along with Belgian Edward Theuns and Australian Michael Matthews in the flatter stages.
“With the ambitions we have at the Tour we’ve selected the strongest possible configuration of qualities and riders,” Veelers said. “Losing Wilco to a re-injured shoulder will be a big loss for us in the team time trial and the mountain stages, but we have Laurens ten Dam to replace him, whose grand tour experience is extremely extensive and will be very valuable. Primarily everyone’s responsibility is to keep Tom safe during each stage.”
Dumoulin and his teammates will be racing on the TCR Advanced SL and Propel Advanced SL Disc bikes for the road stages, and the Trinity Advanced Pro TT bike for the Stage 3 team time trial in Cholet and the Stage 20 individual time trial on the penultimate day of the Tour. The bikes are built up with Giant Contact SLR saddles and Giant Contact SLR cockpit components, and riders are also using prototype wheels from Giant for key stages. Beyond the bikes, riders will also wear Giant helmets, including the lightweight Rev and aero Pursuit for road stages and the Rivet TT for time trials, as well as prototype Giant shoes for certain stages.
Here’s the full lineup for Team Sunweb’s 2018 Tour de France squad:
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Nikias Arndt (GER)
Tom Dumoulin (NED)
Simon Geschke (GER)
Chad Haga (USA)
Michael Matthews (AUS)
Laurens ten Dam (NED)
Edward Theuns (BEL)
Follow Team Sunweb news throught the Tour de France at www.teamsunweb.com.