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June 25, 2014 – Ji Cheng is set to make history as the first Chinese rider on the Tour de France after being named in the Team Giant-Shimano for the gruelling event. The 26-year-old became the first Chinese to ride in a Grand Tour when he completed the Spanish Vuelta in 2012, later going on to compete in the Giro d’Italia a year later, although he failed to finish.
“When we started working with him as a young talented rider back in 2008 we made a long-term plan and this has seen him develop into the highest level of the sport and we see him now playing an important factor in the sprint formations,” Giant-Shimano coach Rudi Kemna said of having Ji in the team. Having Cheng in the team as the first Chinese rider ever to ride the Tour de France will be huge for him and his country and we look forward to seeing the impact this has on the globalization of the sport.”
The team has targeted a goal of winning a stage and for this has developed two sprint formations, the first revolving around Marcel Kittel and the second around John Degenkolb. During stages that are not suited to either sprint formations, riders will have opportunities to go on the offensive in the breakaways.
Kemna said of the selection: “It is always hard picking a selection for the Tour, and especially so this year when we have so many riders all at near enough the same level and capable of bringing a lot to the team. With the team we have selected we have a strong group well balanced to race as well as possible towards our main objective – winning a stage of the Tour. The way we are heading in to the Tour is the way that I like to start a race – with a team full of confidence and with clear goals. I am looking forward to going to the Tour and showing the world who Team Giant-Shimano is.”
Roy Curvers (NED)
John Degenkolb (GER)
Dries Devenys (BEL)
Tom Dumoulin (NED)
Ji Cheng (CHN)
Marcel Kittel (GER)
Koen De Kort (NED)
Albert Timmer (NED)
Tom Veelers (NED)