Video: Kittel speaks after Turkey stage win, says strong second Tour de France is important goal
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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Video: Kittel speaks after Turkey stage win, says strong second Tour de France is important goal

by Shane Stokes at 5:52 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Video, Presidential Tour of Turkey
 
German sprinter speaks about race, last year’s Tour and the pleasure of sprinting well in stage one press conference

Marcel KittelEncouraged by his Presidential Tour of Turkey stage win on Sunday ahead of several other big WorldTour sprinters, Marcel Kittel has fixed his sights on a strong Tour de France performance this July.

The German rider made his debut in the race last year but had a torrid time; he was ill, also had knee issues, and dropped out on stage five.

The 24 year old has time on his side and wants to head back to the race in little over two months’ time and show what he can do. He’s beaten all of the top sprinters in the sport; now he plans to do it in the biggest race in cycling.

“The Tour is the highlight for me this year,” he affirmed at the post-stage press conference in Alanya on Sunday. “I definitely want to do it better than last year, I think. That should be the big goal and I think it will be a better Tour than the one in 2012 for us.”

Kittel is in his third year as a professional and has clocked up four wins this year. He won stages in the Tour of Oman and Paris-Nice, then beat Mark Cavendish to win his second consecutive Scheldeprijs title. Sunday’s stage win saw him finish ahead of Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol), with Mark Renshaw, Theo Bos (both Blanco Pro Cycling), Andrea Guardini (Astana), Leigh Howard (Orica GreenEdge), Gerald Ciolek (MTN Qhubeka), Bryan Coquard (Europcar) and Francesco Chicchi (Vini Fantini – Selle Italia) all further back.

It was a good response to what was a frustrating participation in the 2012 edition of the Turkish race, where second on stage seven was his only top ten result of the week.

“Last year was not the best race for us. Personally, I was really looking forward to doing better as a team this year,” he said in the press conference, which appears below. “So we talked a lot about it, how we wanted to do it, who would be in which position and when we had to go.

“Last year we made quite a lot of mistakes there. We were took excited and wanted too much. It was wrong in the end. I think we started pretty good now in the Tour of Turkey 2013.”

Kittel’s success saw him receive the turquoise jersey of race leadership, as well as one of one of the most bizarre prizes in cycling. He was given a massive bunch of bananas on the podium, a cluster of fruit which was too heavy for him alone to hold it.

Adding to the surreal nature of the moment was the fact that Greipel – who is nicknamed gorilla due to his musculature and strength – subsequently grabbed three of the fruit and lobbed them into an appreciative crowd. Two made it, where they were caught by fans, while one of the bananas was held a fraction too long, looped upwards and thudded against the roof of the podium enclosure.

It was one of the more unusual recent post-race moments, but drew a laugh from Kittel, third-placed finisher Yuriy Metlushenko (Torku Sekerspor) and the rest of those watching.

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