Etixx-Quick-Step have a roster that many teams may envy, but their lineup for the Vattenfall Cyclassics in Germany on Sunday is almost too good to be true.
The Belgian team have a potential winner for almost every eventuality, with sprinters, climbers, Classics legends and a half decent time triallist in their midst.
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Sprinters have dominated the race in recent years (Alexander Kristoff won in 2014) so Etixx have called on Mark Cavendish and Mark Renshaw to provide their firepower should the race come down to a bunch gallop again.
Should it become a bit too physical for the pure sprinters, Classics legend Tom Boonen is on hand to go for the win, while Julian Alaphilippe – tenth in the Eneco Tour – comes into the race in great form.
Then there’s Tony Martin, returning to racing for the first time since breaking his collarbone while leading the Tour de France in July – and he could be looking for a win in front of his home fans.
“We have a competitive team at the start able to get into the action in the finale,” sport director Brian Holm said. “Julian Alaphilippe, for example, is coming off a top 10 overall finish Eneco Tour, and he will be at the start. Mark Cavendish and Tom Boonen will also participate and can be a factor in case of a bunch arrival. We have a strong team that is ready to be a protagonist and go for a good result.”
German sprinter Marcel Kittel is also scheduled to start, having been left out of Giant-Alpecin’s squad for the Vuelta, as is FDJ’s Arnaud Demare – winner of the 2012 edition.