Kittel: Argos Shimano sprint train is improving constantly, Tour de France is major goal for team
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Monday, April 29, 2013

Kittel: Argos Shimano sprint train is improving constantly, Tour de France is major goal for team

by Shane Stokes at 7:27 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Presidential Tour of Turkey
German rider wants to take on Cavendish in the Tour; says he and Greipel have mutual respect

Marcel KittelHe missed out on a stage win last year; this time round, he was the best sprinter with three successes in the race. Marcel Kittel has credited a continuously-improving Argos Shimano team plus his own evolution as a rider as helping make the difference in the Presidential Tour of Turkey, and wants to exploit both in this year’s Tour.

“I'm in very good condition,” he said with satisfaction after clocking up the final stage in Istanbul and raising his tally to three wins out of eight days. “But the victories are not entirely mine. Compared to last year, we corrected the little mistakes that stopped us from winning eventually. We analysed these mistakes one after the other.

“Every year our Argos-Shimano team is improving in every way and goes a step further. Personally I feel stronger on a bike but I also progress thanks to the people around me.”

Kittel had been level with Andre Greipel heading into the final stage, with both holding two sprints apiece. He said on Saturday that he was looking forward to the chance to go head to head in Istanbul, noting that various circumstances meant that they hadn’t really squared off properly in the event.

That duel unfolded yesterday and Kittel came out best in the final sprint, edging ahead of Greipel in taking three wins compared to the latter’s two.

Sprinters can often have a fierce rivalry but Greipel was congratulatory to his younger compatriot after the gallop to the line. “We are both German and both sprinters,” Kittel explained. “We ride with the same ambition to win, but there's a lot of mutual respect between us.”

Yesterday’s success raises his season total to six victories. He’ll seek to pick up more in France from May 10th to 12th, then turn his attention towards his top season goal.

“I'm going to ride the Tour de Picardie,” he said. “Then I’ll go to Sierra Nevada for a training camp at altitude to prepare for the Tour de France, in which I hope to face Mark Cavendish in my best condition.”

For many, Kittel is arguably the most exciting young sprinter in the sport. If he’s on form in this year’s Tour, he’ll be able to try to take his career to the next level.


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