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Team Sunweb has confirmed its grand tour teams and objectives for the season to come.
The German-based outfit will be taking a team of rouleurs to hunt stages at the Tour de France before heading to the Giro d’Italia to target the pink jersey with Wilco Kelderman and Sam Oomen. The Vuelta a España team is not fully finalized, though the squad has confirmed it will be using the race to offer opportunities to developing riders. Texan Chad Haga is included on the long-list for the Spanish race.
Australian sprinter and classics rider Michael Matthews will race Il Lombardia, Milano-Sanremo, and the Giro d’Italia. Matthews will be supported at Milano-Sanremo by classics contender Tiesj Benoot, who will also race Strade Bianche and the northern one-dayers.
“The Tour de France awaits as the first of the grand tours on the calendar, where we will aim for stage success through sprints and offensive racing,” said team coach Rudi Kemna. “The goal at the Giro d’Italia will be the GC and difficult sprints. While the Vuelta a España will be about the development of our young and promising talents, with a few of them getting the opportunity to make their grand tour debut.”
The schedules for the women’s team has yet to be confirmed, though their efforts will focus around new signing Lorena Wiebes, Lianne Lippert, and American sprinter Coryn Rivera. The Sunweb team started the season strong, with Lippert taking second overall at the Santos Tour Down Under and winning the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
“Our women’s program was recently strengthened with the addition of world number-one ranked rider, Lorena Wiebes – a great boost to the team,” Kemna said. “Our ambition to become the best women’s team in professional cycling remains unchanged and continuing in the way that they started our season, we will go for strong results in the classics and Giro Rosa.”
Sunweb is preparing its riders for the season to come at an altitude camp atop Kühtai in the Austrian Alps – a similar location to that used by Bora-Hansgrohe last month. They will fully take over a hotel in the 2000-meter elevation Austrian town to ensure health and safety measures. “The hotel is open exclusively for Team Sunweb, with different rider groups from all programs checking in and out at different periods throughout,” Kemna said.
Like many other squads, Sunweb will keep its riders in “bubbles” as much as possible through the final training block and resumed season.
“To manage risk, the team will operate in multiple bubbles for rider and staff groups, with no two bubbles allowed to mix during their travel, or time on the camp,” Kemna said. “In addition, all riders and staff must provide a negative COVID-19 test before traveling to the camp.”
Kelderman and Oomen’s Giro start may prove their last in Sunweb colors after the team stated that they would not be renewing the pair’s contracts at the end of the season. There are rumors that Kelderman’s GC role will be fulfilled by the signing of Romain Bardet from Ag2r-La Mondiale.
Tour de France team: Søren Kragh Andersen, Nikias Arndt, Tiesj Benoot, Cees Bol, Marc Hirschi, Joris Nieuwenhuis, Nicholas Roche, Jasha Sütterlin.
Giro d’Italia team: Nico Denz, Chris Hamilton, Jai Hindley, Wilco Kelderman, Michael Matthews, Sam Oomen, Casper Pedersen, Martijn Tusveld.
Vuelta a España long-list: Asbjørn Kragh Andersen, Thymen Arensman, Alberto Dainese, Mark Donovan, Felix Gal, Chad Haga, Robert Power, Nicholas Roche, Martin Salmon, Michael Storer, Florian Stork, Ilan van Wilder.