Almost a third of the teams that will race through west Essex and East London in the Tour de France on July 7 have now confirmed their full nine-man squads – and history will be made with the first Chinese cyclist to compete in the world’s biggest bike race.
Dutch outfit Team Giant-Shimano have named Cheng Ji in their line-up and their stated aim is to win a stage based on the utilisation of two sprint formations.
The first – referred to as the Pure Sprint Formation on their website – is centred on the speed of Marcel Kittel, who is set to be one of Mark Cavendish’s main rivals in the fast stages, while the Power Sprint Formation is based around German star John Degenkolb.
Giant-Shiamno were followed in confirming their line-up this evening by American team BMC Racing, for whom Teejay Van Garderen is their lead rider. He will be supported by three riders who helped Cadel Evans to yellow jersey glory for the team in 2011, Marcus Burghardt, Amael Moinard and Michael Schar.
As previously reported, the other five teams to confirm their line-ups to date are Belkin Pro Cycling, IAM Cycling, Lotto-Belisol, Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Trek Factory Racing.
The Tour de France begins in Leeds on Saturday, July 5 before Stage Three follows a route from Cambridge to London two days later.
BMC Racing: Darwin Atapuma (Colombia); Marcus Burghardt (Germany); Amael Moinard (France); Daniel Oss (Italy); Michael Schar (Switzerland); Peter Stetina (USA); Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium); Tejay Van Gaarderen (USA); Peter Velits (Slovakia).
Team Giant-Shimano: Rou Curvers (Netherlands); John Degenkolb (Germany); Dries Devenyns (Belgium); Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands); Cheng Ji (China); Marcel Kittel (Germany); Koen De Kort (Netherlands); Tom Veelers (Netherlands).