The Road to Paris: Tour de France Preparation with Michael Matthews

Team Sunweb Aiming For Stage Wins at Tour de France

27 czerwca 2017

The preparation is nearly over, and the start of the 2017 Tour de France is just days away for Team Sunweb. After all the lead-up races, testing of bikes and gear, and a high-altitude training camp in Italy (which you can see in this video), the biggest race of the season is here.

The Tour’s “Grand Départ” has special meaning this year for the German WorldTour team, as the three-week race kicks off in Düsseldorf. Stage 1 is a flat, fast 14km time trial along the Rhine River near the city center. The following day’s Stage 2 is the first road stage, a 203.5km race from Düsseldorf to Liège, Belgium, home to the famous Liège-Bastogne-Liège spring classic. 

Stage 2 might also be the first opportunity for Team Sunweb’s lead sprinter, Michael Matthews, to go for a stage win. Matthews will be backed up by a solid squad that enters this year’s Tour hunting for stage wins. The team has 11 Tour de France stage wins over the past four years, and Matthews, a 26-year-old Australian speedster who joined the team this year, hopes to extend that win total.

“We’re going into the Tour with goals of winning stages,” said Matthews, who showed his finishing form recently when he won Stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse. “We’ve targeted a few stages that suit my characteristics really well, and we’ve got a team to support me that can help me in those stages too. I think everyone is super-motivated.” 

Team Sunweb riders will be racing on the TCR Advanced SL for the road stages, and the Trinity Advanced Pro for the two time trials.  The bikes are built up with Giant Contact SLR saddles and Contact SLR cockpit components, and the Giant NeosTrack computer. The riders will also wear Giant helmets, including the Rev, Pursuit and Rivet for road stages, and the Rivet TT for time trials.

Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek said this Tour de France squad is focused on those riders who can help the team score stage wins and support Matthews in the bunch sprints.

“Our nine-leader lineup has been created with the team’s overall goal of stage results at the forefront of our mind,” Visbeek said. “We have selected a strong group of riders to form the lead-out train for Michael on the sprint stages with a difficult finale.”

German rider Nikias Arndt will be the main leadout man, and Dutch riders Ramon Sinkeldam, Mike Teunissen, Albert Timmer and Roy Curvers will also play key roles in the sprint stages.

Beyond the sprint stages, Team Sunweb also has several riders focusing on opportunities in the mountains and general classification. Frenchman Warren Barguil, a top-10 finisher at the Vuelta a España, will lead that effort, supported by German Simon Geschke and veteran Dutch rider Laurens ten Dam.

Here’s the full lineup for Team Sunweb’s 2017 Tour de France squad:

Nikias Arndt (GER)

Warren Barguil (FRA)

Roy Curvers (NED)

Simon Geschke (GER)

Michael Matthews (AUS)

Ramon Sinkeldam (NED)

Laurens ten Dam (NED)

Mike Teunissen (NED)

Albert Timmer (NED)