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New title sponsor but little change to sprinter Marcel Kittel's bike and kit

It’s a busy time of year for the professional teams as they embark on early season training camps in sunny climes preparing for the new season. While some teams are getting familiar with new bikes and kit, Marcel Kittel is riding the same Giant Propel he raced last season, despite his team changing from Giant Shimano to Team Giant-Alpecin this year. 

The new look team was revealed in Berlin yesterday. With Shimano stepping down as joint title sponsor as Alpecin, a German shampoo company, becomes a title sponsor, there’s a new kit design. The team says was the new kit was “designed around the keep challenging stripes capturing the team’s sporting DNA in a visual design. These stripes represent the continuous development of both the athlete, represented by the first stripe, and the development of the elite sports environment, represented by the second.”

As well as the new kit, there’s a slight revision to the graphics and colours on Marcel Kittel’s Giant Propel, the aero bike that he used so convincingly last season, but essentially it's unchanged. There’s now a large blue panel on the down tube embracing the Giant logo, a large white panel on the seat tube extending up to the saddle, and a dash of red on the fork and chainstays along with the new team sponsor logo.

The team will still be sponsored by Shimano, despite the Japanese company handing over the title sponsorship reins. So Kittel’s bike is decked out with Dura-Ace Di2 and matching Dura-Ace wheels, in this instance C75 tubular wheels - but he’ll have the choice of the shallower C50 as well, which he raced in the Tour de France last year.

Last season the team were using SRM's Powermeter, they’re now using Pioneer’s crank-based power meter, which makes two teams in the peloton using the Pioneer system (Lotto.NL-Jumbo are the other team).  

Finally, PRO (the component company owned by Shimano) will supply stems, handlebars and saddles, in this case a Turnix. As a sprinter Kittel demands absolute stiffness from his components, so it’s no wonder he opts for PRO’s enormous Vibe Sprint carbon stem. 

The team are on their way to Australia for the Tour Down Under so we'll soon get a better look at the new kit and bikes.

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.