Kittel and Greipel to resume sprinting duel in Turkey
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Kittel and Greipel to resume sprinting duel in Turkey

by VeloNation Press at 6:04 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Duo will be part of a very strong lineup of sprinters

Marcel KittelIn what will be a fascinating square-up between two of the top sprinters in cycling, German riders Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel will go head to head in the upcoming Presidential Tour of Turkey, which begins on Sunday.

Kittel is only in his second year as a professional but has shown huge promise, winning a record eighteen victories in his debut season and continuing this year with five wins. Thus far he’s taken one stage in the Etoile de Besseges and the Driedaagse de Panne plus two in the Tour of Oman, as well as the Scheldeprijs.

His Argos Shimano team was recently given a wildcard for the Tour de France. Prior to going up against Greipel and others there, he has the chance to test himself against him in Turkey.

“I’m looking forward to race against him again,’ he said. “It will be interesting but there are lots of other sprinters at the start who will make the level very high for the sprint finishes. It will be my first race back after a short period of rest and training and I must first get back to competition pace.

“These last couple of years, the Tour of Turkey favoured sprinters and that’s why I want to go and tastes victory again. But I’m not putting any pressure on myself.”

Kittel didn’t compete in the race last year, but Greipel took part and clocked up a victory on stage six. The previous year, he won no less than five stages, easily taking the points classification.

He had a superb start to the season but his last victories were back in February, when he clocked up two stages in the Tour of Oman. He’s had a frustrating Classics campaign, with five punctures ruining his Paris-Roubaix, and knows that a win or two will put him back on track.

“After a short break, I’m ready to lift the gauntlet again in the Tour of Turkey, hopefully with better cards to play for our team,” he said.

The battle between the two Germans will be an interesting one, with each beating the other in the past. Both were in this year’s Tour of Oman, where Greipel took those two victories and Kittel clocked up one. However the sprint battles certainly won’t go down to those two alone; there are other very strong riders who will also be present in Turkey and who could present an equally strong challenge.

These include the GreenEdge duo of Matt Goss and Robbie McEwen (GreenEdge), Rabobank’s Mark Renshaw and Theo Bos, former Tour de France green jersey Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD), promising young Italian Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia) and Saxo Bank’s JJ Haedo.

Outsiders for the sprints include French duo Anthony Ravard and Jimmy Casper (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Sacha Modolo (Colnago-CSF), Matteo Pelucchi (Europcar) and UnitedHealthcare’s Robert Forster.

This year’s race includes the summit finish of Elmali, which has been likened to Alpe d’Huez. It means that the general classification will go to an all-rounder, but there are several stages which seem destined to come down to big sprints.

With several of those aforementioned gallopers using the race as preparation for the Giro d’Italia, the finishes will be hotly contested. Victories there will hold a lot of prestige and significance as a result.

2012 Présidential Tour of Turkey:

Stage 1: Alanya-Alanya, 148 km
Stage 2: Alanya-Kemer, 185 km
Stage 3: Tekirova-Elmali, 148 km
Stage 4: Fethiye-Marmaris, 130 km
Stage 5: Marmaris-Turgutreis, 170 km
Stage 6: Bodrum-Kusadasi, 181 km
Stage 7: Ephesus-Izmir, 118 km
Stage 8: Istanbul (Europe to Asia), 114 km



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