Kittel forced to withdraw from Tour de France
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Thursday, July 05, 2012

Kittel forced to withdraw from Tour de France

by Shane Stokes at 9:37 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Injury
 
Stomach problems finally wear German out

Marcel KittelGerman sprinter Marcel Kittel has reluctantly been forced to withdraw from the Tour de France, calling it quits approximately 40 kilometres after today’s start in Rouen.

The Argos-Shimano rider went into the race highly tipped to win a stage but instead of battling the other riders at the head of the peloton, he has been fighting stomach problems and, more recently, a knee issue.

The former got the better of him today and he had to withdraw. He had been sitting second-last overall in 194th place prior to the stage, 32 minutes 43 seconds behind race leader Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Nissan).

Speaking on Tuesday, team doctor Edwin Achterberg had spoken about the problems he was having. “Marcel is not thinking about the upcoming sprint stages,” he said then. "His recovery is the most important thing at the moment. Today he felt pretty good in the beginning, but when the hilly part started he experienced some difficulties and had to let go. His intestines are not yet restored, which makes its hard for his body to receive nutrients. At the finish he was completely worn out. We will look at his recovery from day to day."

Unfortunately, that recovery didn’t improve and his debut Tour has not gone at all like he planned. He had a fine season leading up to the race, winning a stage in both the Étoile de Bessèges and the Three Days of De Panne, taking two in the Tour of Oman, netting the semi-Classic Scheldeprijs and also picking up two stages plus the points classification in the Ster ZLM Toer.

Kittel’s optimism was high that he would be able to chase a stage win but instead, sprinting duties will pass to Tom Veelers. He was a fine third on yesterday’s stage, but the team will still regret the loss of a rider as fast as Kittel.

The squad is pushing for a place in the WorldTour next year and winning stages in the Tour is part of its plan to collect points.

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