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Giant steps up as title sponsor with Shimano, replacing Argos and Felt in backing the Dutch WorldTour team. New kit unveiled

Bicycle manufacturer Giant has announced it is to become the title sponsor of the former Argos-Shimano WorldTour team for 2014, and today revealed the new kit and bikes. Giant also replaces Felt as the bicycle supplier. 

The news confirms rumours that Giant would partner with Shimano in replacing Argos, who pulled out at the end of last year. Giant was replaced at Team Belkin by Italian manufacturer Bianchi. It was clear Giant wouldn’t want to be left out of the WorldTour, and the announcement means the company joins Trek, Cannondale and BMC in being manufacturers as title sponsors of WorldTour teams.

Giant also announced that it provide support for a men’s UCI Continental development squad, providing a platform for younger riders, and Liv/giant, a women’s professional team. The women’s team, led by Kirsten Wild and Claudia Häusler, will focus on major stage races and World Cups. Lucy Garner, who rode for Argos-Shimano last year, today tweeted a photo of the new kit 

They’ve retained the services of Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb. Kittel had a stunning season in 2013, with 15 race wins including four at the Tour de France. With his form undoubtedly on the rise, it should be an exciting battle between Kittel and Mark Cavendish at the Tour this summer.

The change of course means a new jersey. Switching from the mostly white kit of last year, the new kit features a bold white and black design, with couple of black vertical stripes down the middle of the jersey, and just a couple of blue flashes on the sleeves and shorts. A quick Twitter poll suggests it might take some time for the new look kit to sink in.

No team launch is complete without a glossy video these days. Here's Giant-Shimano's offering,. Queue cheesy American voice over:

Team Giant-Shimano general manager Iwan Spekenbrink is excited by the news, saying: “We are very proud of the confidence that Giant has shown in our athletes, our organisation and our vision. By stepping up after our planned title sponsor departed, Giant is demonstrating their belief in the superior results, global reach and integrity we have established over the last several years. The idea of building a new concept in pro cycling, together with Giant, has been welcomed with great enthusiasm by the riders and the entire organization.”

“We’re thrilled to be joining forces with this young, progressive and energetic program,” added Giant CEO Tony Lo. “We have a shared mission with the team to change and evolve the sport, and to inspire the next generation of riders. Our product development team is already collaborating with this innovation-driven group of riders and staff to test and develop cutting-edge products to help them win at the highest level. With an international roster of European, Asian and U.S. riders, we’re also excited to connect the team with our retail partners and millions of riders worldwide to promote the health, environmental and social benefits of cycling.”

The team will ride Giant's TCR and Propel on the road, and the Trinity for time trials. We'll have a closer look at the bikes in a standalone feature later this week.

Here's Marcel Kittel on why cycling is so special for him.

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.