Katusha-Alpecin’s Tour focus became blurry after sprint ace Marcel Kittel abruptly abandoned his pro cycling career in May; the team will likely target stage victories with its backup sprinters, including Rick Zabel, and breakaway riders like Marco Haller come July. Ilnur Zakarin, who comes off a 10th place finish at the 2019 Giro d’Italia, will hope to salvage a GC result for the team.
Stage victories could prove to be the team’s best focus in 2019 and perhaps that’s why the squad has opted for brawny riders who thrive in flat and hilly terrain. German rouleur Nils Politt nearly won Paris-Roubaix and has the legs to win a flat or rolling stage, as does Jens Debusschere. Youngster Mads Würtz Schmidt is making his Tour debut, as is José Goncalves, who is a talented time trialist who can also survive medium-sized climbs.
Ilnur Zakarin, Alex Dowsett, Jens Debusschere, José Goncalves, Rick Zabel, Marco Haller, Nils Politt, Mads Würtz Schmidt