Haga, Craddock to make 2015 debuts alongside Kittel Down Under

The pair of Americans will join teammate Marcel Kittel in Australia next month

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Lawson Craddock and Chad Haga will make their sophomore season debuts alongside sprint ace Marcel Kittel at the Santos Tour Down Under next month.

The two Americans will be part of a solid formation for the 2015 UCI WorldTour season opener January 17-25 in Australia for the new-look Giant-Alpecin squad.

Both made solid debuts with Giant in 2014, with Craddock riding to third overall at the Amgen Tour of California, and Haga gaining confidence throughout the season to complete his first grand tour at the Vuelta a España.

Kittel, meanwhile, will return to Adelaide for the third consecutive season. The German ace said he enjoys the excellent weather and training that Australia provides in January when most of Europe remains wrapped up in winter cloaks.

“It’s a nice way for me to start the season, and find my legs again after the winter training,” Kittel said in a release. “Even if there aren’t too many opportunities for sprinters, the race is still part of my build-up to the season, and in combination with the ideal race conditions, it’s an ideal start to my season.”

Others lining up include world time trial bronze medalist Tom Dumoulin and Koen de Kort, a Dutch rider with strong Aussie ties.

The Tour Down Under has become increasingly more challenging over the past few editions, and sprinters such as Kittel will see fewer opportunities for victory.

André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol), another German sprinter who typically kick starts his season at the Tour Down Under, recently confirmed he will not be racing in Australia in January.

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