The German speaking countries are back again for their yearly French holiday. "The hills are alive! With the sound of carbon wheels..."
Roster: Jan Dieteren, Lennard Kämna, Jonas Koch, Nils Politt, Max Schachmann and Johannes Weber
The major omission from this team is obviously Silvio Herklotz but it seems like the Berliner is still recovering from his DNF in the Giro della Valle d'Aosta. There is no information on this so I am assuming it is an injury or crash of some sort as he was pulled out of the Tour Alsace as well. This certainly has been a tale of two seasons for Herklotz.
While the Berliner has been sidelined, first year Lennard Kämna has carved out a big role for himself as the next big thing. He can time trial. He can climb on long climbs and on shorter climbs. He can recover well enough to take on the GC. Kämna, who grew up on the outskirts of Hamburg, has the makings of a super star as he climbs better than other strong German time trialists that made people salivate in years past. While he most likely won't be lighting the GC on fire this year, he could certainly take out a stage win like he did in Aosta and is a favorite for the prologue.
Speaking of time trial riders, look no further than Politt and Schachmann. Politt was 2nd in the German U23 TT but the prologue might be a bit short for him to show his true talents. Schachmann has been focusing more on his climbing talents this year but is still a threat in a time trial with proof being his 3rd place in the European U23 TT.
Schachmann will certainly being aiding Kämna in the mountains while both Koch and Weber should be able helpers on both the flats and in the hills. For the sprints, they have Dieteren albeit he needs a harder course to be able to get up for a win. He is a good shot for a good result in the prologue.
Prediction: Kämna will win a mountain stage and finish 13th overall
Roster: Benjamic Brkic, Michael Gogl, Gregor Mühlberger, Dennis Paulus, Sebastian Schönberger and Alexander Wachter
If Mühlberger comes in with the form that he had this spring, he will be amazing to watch here. He isn't the best climber in the big mountains but he has a penchant for day long breakaways that result in huge wins so even if his GC hopes are out of the picture, he could still provide some dramatics.
Michael Gogl was very consistent here last year with 15th overall and could do something similar this year. He seems to be in decent form with a good ride in the Arctic Tour with Tinkoff-Saxo.
Schönberger and Paulus should provide good support for the team. Both can climb reasonably well and could get into a breakaway and what not. Wachter could be doing the same thing but is more akin to getting results out of breakaways including a win out of a small group sprint in the Carpathian Couriers Tour.
One of the riders I am most looking forward to this year is Brkic. He is just a first year but he was impressive in Alsace on the queen stage where he was 4th on the stage and 14th overall. He seems like he could ride in the cut and get a surprising result in the mountains but the road will decide.
Prediction: Mühlberger goes on a long range attack; Gogl gets 6th in a sprint; Brkic goes 21st overall.