Tour de France

Kittel's TDF appetite whetted

2014-07-02 19:17
Marcel Kittel (AFP)

Leeds - Sprint king Marcel Kittel says his hands are already wet with anticipation ahead of Saturday's Tour de France start in Leeds.

The 26-year-old burst onto the sprint scene last year, winning four Tour stages, including both the opening one in Corsica, which put him into yellow, and the final stage on the Champs Elysees in Paris.

Kittel has hardly raced against his primary rivals Britain's Mark Cavendish and German countryman Andre Greipel this season but he's desperate to test himself against the best.

"I'm really looking forward now to the race, it will be for sure a 'Grand Depart' with all the British fans," the Giant-Shimano rider told AFP.

"We (the sprint favourites) did not do too many races together (this year), I think especially in London we will have the first real opportunity to see a real sprint; it's making my hands a bit wet."

However, the opportunity to take on the man he replaced last year as king of the sprints, Cavendish, on his home soil isn't a consideration for Kittel.

"For the stages here in England I'm here to win a stage, I'm not here to beat Mark Cavendish at home. It's not only about that, you also have to think about Andre Greipel, he's a big concurrent and other guys like Arnaud Demarre from FDJ."

Giant come into this race with a twin sprint tactic as Kittel's teammate and compatriot John Degenkolb, 25, is also handy in the speedy finishes.

But while Kittel is the better flat out sprinter, Degenkolb is more likely to still be there for the finish after a tough or hilly stage.

It means Giant are coming to the race with two potential tactics at the finish.

Kittel for the flat stages that end in a bunch, or pure sprint, and Degenkolb for the power sprints when his teammate suffers on a tougher stage.

"You talk about the pure sprint formation when you have... an easy stage with a classic bunch sprint where everybody is there and also all the concurrents are in optimal lead-out formation," said Giant's sprint lead-out captain Roy Curvers.

"That one is easy to analyse and easy to scientifically build the train for that.

"But when you have a power sprint it means the stage has been harder along the way and it means not everybody is as fresh as they should be to do it properly.

"Also the concurrents can have difficulties in their lead-outs so in the power sprint formation you need more thinking during the race."

Degenkolb, who won Gent-Wevelgem and finished second at Paris-Roubaix in April, is looking forward to the opportunities this will provide him at the Tour.

"The Tour is 21 days long, there are a lot of opportunities this year, even much better than last year," he said.

"For me personally and for the team in general we have a lot of flat sprint stages and also lots of stages that are in between flat and climbing stages.

"There are five or six that can suit me.

"In the end it's a good combination which makes this tour very unique."

Read more on:    tdf  |  marcel kittel  |  cycling
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

You HAVE to see this MTB Tsunami Fip!

You might not know what a Tsunami Flip is, but just watching this will turn your eyes into saucers. Check out this first-ever MTB Tsunami Flip in contest here.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Mountain unicycling – say WHAT?
Bear Grylls’ top 10 things kids should do outdoors
Top tips to ensure you’re running right
Stand-up paddle boarding a great workout

Standings

Vote

What do you enjoy most about the Tour de France?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.