Giant-Alpecin

Germany | Team website

With intimidatingly broad-shouldered and good-looking beefcake Marcel Kittel spearheading a crack lead-out of Dutch six-footers, Giant-Alpecin is the second-best example of nominative determinism in professional cycling (behind IAM Cycling).

Besides Kittel, John Degenkolb is the team’s other strong finisher, enjoying his best season yet in 2014 with a win at Ghent-Wevelgem, and the points classification wins at Paris-Nice, Tour Méditerranéen and the Vuelta a Espana, during which he won four stages. Second place at Paris-Roubaix confirmed Degenkolb’s ability in tough races, not just bunch sprints.

The team is also home to Cheng Ji, who last year became the first Chinese rider to complete the Tour de France.

With a shift from its previous Netherlands base to Germany, Giant-Alpecin has become the sole German representative in the WorldTour.

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Marcel Kittel to miss Tour de France

Marcel Kittel will not ride the 2015 Tour de France, as he is not at a high enough level of fitness to compete in the three-week race. The German has…