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“I’d like to keep it to myself. When a team or someone knows my thresholds and power, they can create a strategy around it. They could ride two kilometres an hour faster and maybe I’d be dropped," Kittel says

Photo: RCS Sport








11.05.2014 @ 20:09 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) produced an almost unbelievable sprint to win today' third stage of the Giro d'Italia on his birhday as he a poor position meant that he had to sprint for much longer than he would usually do. Afterwards, he desribed his effort more like an attack and said that his loss of position had been necessary to avoid hitting the deck.


Marcel Kittel has sprinted to an emphatic second stage win in a row on today’s third stage of the Giro d’Italia. What’s more, the win comes on his Birthday to add to the celebrations.


Already clad in the red jersey of points leader, Kittel powered to his second stage win in as many days before the race’s first rest day that will see the peloton move back to Italy for the remainder of the race.


The third stage saw a break of five riders take to the fore and build up enough of a gap to enjoy the points on offer during the stage, however a sprint always looked on the cards and the writing was on the wall in the final 10km as just one rider remained out front.


ith seven kilometres to go the race came back together and from there in it was a fight of the sprint trains to the line. In the technical final kilometre it looked as if Kittel would have too much ground to make up after losing the wheel of teammate Tom Veelers, and he came out of the wheels in about seventh place as the sprint was launched. However he kept the power down until the line coming through at the end to take his second stage win of the race and setting out his stall for the flat stages to come.


With this win, Kittel also comforts his lead in the red jersey of leader of the points classification.


“I came here with the goal to win the first stage and after that the pressure is off slightly but today was not easy and it was really close at the finish.,” said Marcel after the finish.


We tried do our sprint preparation pretty early today, which wasn’t a mistake because 2km before the finish the road narrowed and we wanted to be in front. But just before one of the turns I got sandwiched and it was a choice of letting go of Tom’s wheel or probably crashing.


"This put me out of position slightly and a bit far back but I was never going to give up on the chance to win a stage. It was one big line and I must have been about 30 riders from the back.  I thought, ‘I cannot give up now.’


"Fortunately, I was on the wheel of Bouhanni, who was probably thinking the same thing. I was still not in a good position at 3-400m, but I sprinted as hard as I could for much longer than I would normally do. It was almost an attack, not a sprint, and it took a lot of energy. That’s why I was on the ground after the stage, recovering.


“It is extra special to win on your birthday and I must thank my teammates for the work they did for me again today. We can have a day of down time now before targeting the next flat stage in Italy.


“It’s always important for me in my development as a rider to see improvements. Sometimes it’s in finding a better position than the year before, sometimes it’s about improving the team, or taking another mental approach to handling the pressure and distress. There are plenty of things I can still improve, not only legs-wise.


"When you win, it doesn’t make the races that come afterwards any easier, because expectations grow and you have to find a way to deal with it. Last year, we learned a lot. We saw a lot of things that we did wrong. I think we are now on the right road. Our victories in recent weeks confirm that.


“I don’t think it’s true that Germany isn’t interested in cycling any more. The TV channels that broadcast the races in Hamburg and Frankfurt have very good audience figures, so it’s really not true that there is no interest.


"But it’s not really my job to make them come back. All I can do is win races and keep on telling them how we do it, and how we want transparency in cycling.


“Of course, I know my power numbers but I don’t want to give them away.  We have a team who analyses training and race power output. It’s a big science, I’d like to compare it to motor sports. We are working very hard and I see a lot of improvements, but also moments when you are not at your best shape.


“I’d like to keep it to myself. When a team or someone knows my thresholds and power, they can create a strategy around it. They could ride two kilometres an hour faster and maybe I’d be dropped. That’s why I want to keep it to myself.”


After the stage, Team Giant-Shimano coach, Addy Engels said: “After yesterday we knew that Marcel was in good shape and at the finish today that was something special.


“The stage was pretty steady for us as the Orica controlled with the pink jersey and then we joined in after the feedzone as planned. Things got a bit nervous in the bunch with several crashes and then the race leader got held up so the bunch waited and the gap went out another minute so the chase became a bit frantic but it all came back together in the end.


“The guys lost each other a bit at the finish but I am not too sure what happened yet – it was a technical run in and the pace was very high so it was hard to move back up once you lost position, but Marcel showed great composure once again on to bring it home for the team.


“We now have a day where we can relax and fly back to Italy before getting going again on stage 4. Did I expect the team to win the first two road stages? I am not sure I expected it, I knew it was possible but anything can happen and it is great that we have got the race off to such a good start. It takes the pressure off for the stages to come.”


Lead-out man, Tom Veelers added: “I didn’t see much of the finish but from what I hear it was something special and I think I need to go and watch it a few times back at the hotel.


“Personally I was feeling quite good today, better than yesterday. The preparation of the sprint went really well until about 1km to go where Marcel lost my wheel and with the speed being so high together with the corners there was little we could do.


“Normally from this position it would be too much to come back to take the win but with the form that Marcel has and the power he showed today anything is possible.”



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