Kittel enthusiastic about chance to grab second Tour stage win
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Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Kittel enthusiastic about chance to grab second Tour stage win

by Shane Stokes at 5:11 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Argos Shimano rider wants to seize sprint opportunities this week

Marcel KittelWinner of stage one of this year’s Tour, Marcel Kittel is keen to add another victory in the race to his palmares and now has three or possibly four chances in the next five days.

The Argos Shimano rider, who was also third behind Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) into Montpellier, knows that the days ahead point towards likely bunch sprints. Today’s stage to Saint Malo is almost completely flat then, after Wednesday’s time trial, the riders will take on two very similar stages to Tours and St. Amand Montrond.

Next Saturday’s race to Lyon could also finish in a big group, although the two category three climbs and five category four ascents point more towards a breakaway or a reduced peloton. While a rider like Peter Sagan (Cannondale) could cope well with the latter, it remains to be seen if Kittel could do so.

Still, at the very least, he should have three opportunities this week.

“My form is good,” he said on the rest day, thinking ahead. “Yesterday I felt really good in the mountains and survived those very easily. In the coming weeks we will have some chances, and if everything falls into place again we should be ready to rumble.

“I’ve really enjoyed sprinting on the highest level in this Tour. We came to the Tour to win a stage, but now we are eager to win another. Today all our experts were also in the hotel and we had a meeting with them to analyze the sprints of the last week. We saw some improvements. I feel good and am really looking forward to sprinting again. The hills and mountains are OK, but I came here to battle with the other sprinters and to show some speed, so it is nice that we can continue that again.”

Kittel’s biggest rivals are likely to be Sagan, Mark Cavendish and Greipel, with Matt Goss (Orica GreenEdge) one of several fast men who is yet to win a stage this year but who will give everything to try.

The German rider is one of the fastest in the bunch, though, and knows that he can beat anyone when things go exactly right for him.

He dropped out of his first Tour last year after just a few days; this time round, the experience has been far more rewarding. As a result his motivation is high at this halfway point.

“Winning the first week and wearing the yellow jersey was a very special moment. Everybody is right – it does feel different from any other jersey,” he said. “You feel the history and magic of 100 years of cycling in the jersey. It was also quite special to get the jersey on the podium, but also the team presentation the next day, standing with my teammates who were all a huge part of this success, and then seeing the fans along the road cheering us on.”

Team-mate Simon Geschke also enthused about the significance of the moment, and his views will be shared by the rest of the team. “The best moment so far in the Tour was without doubt Marcel Kittel’s victory. We all dreamed about it, and that it actually came true was very special,” he said.

“I feel privileged to have been part of the team success. Not only winning the stage but also the day after, riding with the yellow jersey in the team, was really good.”

Geschke is looking for a breakaway opportunity on hillier days but until then, he is fully committed to working for Kittel and the team’s other sprinter, John Degenkolb. “In the coming days the chances for the team in the flat stages will be really important.”

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