Plans change for Argos-Shimano as Marcel Kittel suffers from stomach virus
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Monday, July 2, 2012

Plans change for Argos-Shimano as Marcel Kittel suffers from stomach virus

by Ben Atkins at 5:17 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Injury
Lead out man Tom Veelers turns sprinter and takes morale-boosting fourth place in Tournai

marcel kittelStomach and intestinal problems for Argos-Shimano sprinter Marcel Kittel saw the Dutch Professional Continental team’s plans change mid-stage on the road between Visé and Tournai today. The second stage of the Tour de France began with the 24-year-old German feeling a little unwell, but he put it down to the stress and nerves of his debut Tour de France.

Midway through the 207.5km stage however, it became clear that it was something more serious than that, and he was forced to allow himself to be dropped by the peloton with 20km to go.

“Golden rule for me today: Never trust a fart…” he joked on Twitter after the stage. “I'm happy that I finished the race. But last night has taken its toll so no sprint 2day.”

As the first sprint stage of the race, the second stage was to be one of the big targets for Kittel, who has taken seven victories so far this year, including the prestigious Scheldeprijs. Instead, the team was forced to change its plans, with the German’s Dutch leadout man Tom Veelers stepping up to the plate.

“It was strange to change our plan during the stage”, Veelers said afterwards. "But I grabbed this opportunity with both hands.

“Of course it was very unfortunate for Marcel. We worked hard on our train and it's a shame that we could not unfold it like we wanted. But we maintained our plan as good as possible and fortunately it resulted in an excellent fourth place.”

Veelers expects Kittel to continue in the race and, with the tough, hilly finish to the stage three finish in Boulogne, predicts the young German to ‘take it easy’.

“But don’t forget we’re talking about the Tour de France here, so it’s never going to be really easy,” he conceded. “I just hope Marcel gets well soon.”

Argos-Shimano team doctor, Doctor Edwin Achterberg, examined Kittel after the stage and concluded that he was suffering from a viral infection of his stomach and intestines, but fully expects him to take the start in tomorrow’s stage.

“We’ve done some checks and luckily Marcel doesn’t have a fever,” Achterberg explained. “Normally, he will be able to start tomorrow. He has received medication and will get easily digestible food. We have to wait and see how quick his body reacts to that.”


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