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“I always say that it’s great when you win when the best guys are in the races as well,” Marcel Kittel explained, “but it is how it is when you are sick or injured, you can’t start.”

Photo: Sirotti






09.04.2014 @ 14:30 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

A very promising beginning of 2014 suggested that Marcel Kittel would continue his quest to be crowned the fastest sprinter in the professional peloton with a victory in season’s opening People’s Choice Classic and three consecutive stage wins at the Dubai Tour. However, the Giant-Shimano rider still waits to open his winning account on the European ground following highly unfortunate appearances at Tirreno-Adriatico or Driedaagse De Panne, and today’s Scheldeprijs would serve as a perfect occasion to do so, as the German will chase his third consecutive victory in the event.


Kittel won’t be provided with an opportunity to face his biggest opponents: Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol), since the former is still struggles with negative outcomes of a cold caught in the Milano-Sanremo and the latter pulled out of competition with a collarbone broken at Gent-Wavelgem.


Even with the German sprinter being a big favorite, participation of other fast finishers in likes of Arnaud Demare (, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) or Theo Bos (Belkin Procycling) should make up for a good spectacle. However, the Giant-Shimano rider claimed he would miss his renowned rivals.


“I always say that it’s great when you win when the best guys are in the races as well,” he explained VeloNews, “but it is how it is when you are sick or injured, you can’t start.”


Kittel would be provided with an opportunity to make a history today by becoming the first rider to win Scheldeprijs for three consecutive years. By achieving this, he will also tie the win record held by Cavendish (2007, 2008, 2011) and Belgian Piet Oellibrandt (1960, 1962, 1963).


It would also make up for so far very poor results obtained in the European season, as his Tirreno-Adriatico campaign having been marred by a crash in first stage’s finale while at the Driedaagse De Panne the athletic German was unable to make a difference abandoned by his usually reliable Giant-Shimano train. It is worth pointing out, however, that his time trial on the final day of the Belgian stage race was no less than impressive.


“With the crash in the beginning, Tirreno wasn’t perfect race for me,” he said. “It’s also part of racing. I wanted to go for a stage win but it was very hard. I wasn’t in great shape but I made an important step there with doing those races: long hours on the bike that helped me for Scheldeprijs.”


Even though Kittel is eager to bounce back in the Scheldeprijs today and finally open up this year’s account on the European ground, he still keeps his biggest objective of 2014 season in mind – the Tour de France, where he will try to win an opening stage for a second consecutive year and enter the second day of competition clad in the hugely desired yellow jersey.


Last year, the Giant-Shimano rider won a very hectic Tour’s first stage from Porto Vecchio to Bastia by oversprinting Alexander Kristoff and Danny Van Poppel on the line and claimed it was the greatest day of his life.


Following today’s Scheldeprijs, Kittel has the Tour de Romandia and Giro d’Italia on his agenda before lining up at the Tour de France in July.


“Like Cavendish, that’s one of biggest goals for me, as well,” Kittel said. “I’m also starting in the Giro to pick up stage wins there, that’s also part of the big plan. I’m looking forward to it. The Giro and the Tour, and in between the training and the preparation, that’s enough work for one season.”



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