Thursday marks the comeback of the long awaited Deutschland Tour. For Leopard Pro Cycling an ideal opportunity to show itself to bigger crowds. With a very strong line-up, Leopard hopes to play an important role in this race that has been marked as one of the most important ones of the season.
ROSTER: Jan Brockhoff, Alexander Krieger, Gaëtan Pons, Szymon Rekita, Jens Reynders & Mario Spengler - DS: Markus Zingen
After being presented to the crowds at the team presentation in Koblenz on Wednesday, the Deutschland Tour starts Thursday with the first of four stages. Koblenz, a true sports city, host the start of a 157 kilometer stage to Bonn that has no real obstacles along the route. With a final straight of about 2,5 kilometers long, chances are that a bunch sprint will decide over who will wear the first leaders jersey. Stage two starts where the first day ended, in the former German capital Bonn. As the second stage will bring the riders to Trier - close to the Luxembourgish border - Leopard Pro Cycling wants to show itself without any doubts. In the second part of this stage there are four KOM sprints which will make the race hard, not to forget the bonification sprint on the Petrisberg, only 6 kilometers from the line.
On Saturday, the race leaves Trier and heads to Merzig, a stage that can't be underestimated. Along the route there are again five mountain sprints, which are all short and steep. The final local circuit is a hard one which opens up opportunities for the puncheurs. After a transfer to Lorsch, the final stage of the Deutschland Tour takes the race to Stuttgart, where Leopard's Alexander Krieger knows the roads well. All in all, the 207,5 kilometer long stage is not that hard, but the difficult Herdweg climb in the late final can make life hard for the fast guys.
Next to Leopard Pro Cycling, the Deutschland Tour welcomes 21 other teams, of which no less than eleven are UCI World Tour teams. This means that well-known names such as Tom Dumoulin, Marcel Kittel, André Greipel, German Champion Pascal Ackermann, Mark Cavendish and Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas make their appearance. Leopard Pro Cycling comes to Germany with six strong riders, one of them is Alexander Krieger who is looking forward to ride in front of his home crowd.
Alexander Krieger: "The Deutschland Tour will be a special race that we are all looking forward to. It is very exciting that very big names such as Thomas, Dumoulin and Bardet will be at the start line as well. We can be happy that we can be part of this amazing event and we will try to leave our mark on this race. It's not up to us to make the race, so maybe we can take advantage of this and have a lot of fun. The team will be very strong and well prepared. For me the race is extra special as it finishes in Stuttgart, the place where I was born. I like the course and I hope to have fun and see a lot of spectators cheering on the road."
Markus Zingen, DS: "It's an honor for our team to be present at such a nice event with a lot of big names and teams at the start. We had already a great season so far in which we proved that we can have very good results with our young guys, even on this high level. Everyone is looking forward to the race and we will for sure show active racing and give everything for good results. Furthermore, it's great to see that there is again a big stage race in Germany, especially because we are also close to Luxembourg with the stage to Trier and Merzig and we hope to see many Luxembourgish fans on the roads."