European riders Marcel Kittel and Koen de Kort will lead a dynamic Argos-Shimano when the team makes its debut as a UCI WorldTour team at this month’s Santos Tour Down Under.
German sprinter Kittel enjoyed a strong 2012 season claiming more than a dozen wins including the Flanders one day classic Scheldeprijs, two stages of the WorldTour rated Eneco Tour and stages of the Tours of Oman and Circuit Franco-Belge.
All-rounder de Kort, whose partner is Australian, is a frequent visitor to our shores while the Argos-Shimano roster also features Australia’s Will Clarke, who won stage two of the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under and later took out the prologue time trial of the Tour of Japan.
Argos-Shimano Team Manager, Iwan Spekenbrink, views the Santos Tour Down Under as an important race with good opportunities for his team.
“A strong group of riders will represent our team in Australia and they can form a good sprint train to lead out our sprinter,” Spekenbrink explained. “They are riders with good attacking qualities and have prepared well for the Santos Tour Down Under at our team base at Altea Hills near Alicante (Spain).
“Two of our riders have a special connection with Australia and want to impress the thousands of fans. Will Clarke comes from Australia and won a stage of last year’s Santos Tour Down Under and Koen de Kort, whose girlfriend is Australian, has stayed in Australia during the European winter for many years now.
“Both riders have special sentiments for the Santos Tour Down Under.”
Santos Tour Down Under Race Director Mike Turtur says South African time trial champion Reinardt Janse van Rensburg is another rider poised to make his mark in the first UCI WorldTour event of the year.
“Van Rensburg is a new addition to the Argos-Shimano roster and can certainly produce plenty of power on demand,” said Turtur. “This month’s race route features stages to suit sprinters and all-rounders, and we’re expecting close finishes as the world’s top riders battle for points in 2013.”
The Argos-Shimano team for the 2013 Santos Tour Down Under will be led by Team Manager Iwan Spekenbrink and includes riders Jonas Ahlstrand (SWE), William Clarke (AUS), Yann Huguet (FRA), Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA), Marcel Kittel (GER), Koen de Kort (NED) and Albert Timmer (NED).
The Santos Tour Down Under will be held in Adelaide and regional South Australia from 20-27 January 2013.