Team Argos-Shimano Tour De France Long List: Expect Attacks and Breakaways

Michael Hatamoto@MhatamotoContributor IIIJune 11, 2012

SANTA CRUZ, CA - MAY 14:  Alexandre Geniez of France riding for Argos-Shimano broke away from the peloton during stage two of the Amgen Tour of California from San Francisco to Santa Cruz on May 14, 2012 in Santa Cruz, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Dutch cycling team Argos-Shimano announced a long list for the Tour de France, the pinnacle of the cycling race season, which begins on June 30.

Here are the 14 riders competing to earn the right to represent the professional continental team in July:

Marcel Kittel
Simon Geschke
Johannes Fröhlinger
Patrick Gretsch
Tom Veelers
Koen de Kort
Albert Timmer
Roy Curvers
Tom Stamsnijder
Alexandre Geniez
Yann Huguet
Thierry Hupond
Matthieu Sprick
Bert De Backer

Team Argos-Shimano is expected to announce the official team on June 19.

Expect Kittel to battle it out with the ProTour teams on the flat stages, while Gretsch will be called upon for individual time trials.

I’m surprised John Degenkolb wasn’t included on the list, but the German rider will now focus on competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics.  The 22-year-old will also be able to keep his legs fresh for the Vuelta a España and season-ending world championship once the Olympics conclude.

“John has had a busy spring, riding almost all the spring classics and many stage races,” said Team Manager Iwan Spekenbrink in a press statement.  “At this point the Tour de France is too much for him. John is a talented rider, but still just 22. The Tour de France comes a year too early for him."

Without a true general classification (GC) contender, expect the continental squad to liven the race up in breakaways and attacks.  One stage win would be a major success for the team, so expect them to be aggressive while looking for opportunities to get their sponsors some TV time.