Mark Cavendish could face off against Marcel Kittel at the Tour of Britain, after the German was selected to lead a strong Giant-Shimano team.
Cavendish is hopeful of a place in the Omega Pharma-Quickstep line-up for the 2.HC race after proving his return to form with two stage wins at the Tour Poitou Charteres.
And Kittel will be among his sprint rivals, alongside two of the riders who helped to propel the German to four stage wins at the Tour of Britain, after Giant-Shimano confirmed their six-man line-up for the race.
Team manager Marc Reef said of the team’s selections: “The first goal here will be to target the flat stages for a sprint with Marcel.
“The race presents plenty of different opportunities and it will be quite open for the riders to take their own chances.
“With just six riders on the team it makes it quite hard to control and this means that we will also have to be opportunistic where we can.”
Joining Kittel on the startline in Liverpool will be Albert Timmer and Tom Veelers from his Tour de France lead-out train, while Bert de Bakker also makes his return to racing after crashing out of the ZLM-Toer in June.
Dutch duo Brian Bulgac and Tom Stamsnijder complete the line-up, with Reef hopeful of also mounting an overall challenge, if the stages work in their favour, through Albert Timmer.
He added: “I hope that Albert can also try for a nice result on the GC but there is no pressure for this and we will take it day by day.”
The race – for which the full provisional start list will be announced on Tuesday morning – will be Kittel’s third race on British shores this season.
He has previously won a stage of the Giro d’Italia in Belfast before triumphing in Harrogate and London during the Tour de France.
Giant-Shimano squad for the 2014 Tour of Britain
Marcel Kittel (GER)
Bert de Bakker (BEL)
Albert Timmer (NED)
Tom Veelers (NED)
Brian Bulgac (NED)
Tom Stamsnijder (NED)