WH AT ’ S U P W I TH MAR C EL?

Procycling - - Le Tour -

M ar­cel Kit­tel had a very strong 2017. He won at least a race ev­ery month up to and in­clud­ing the Tour, then took out five stages in the first 11 days. His to­tal of Tour stage wins is 14, and he’s just turned 30. How­ever, he had a very quiet fi­nal third to 2017, fol­lowed by a trans­fer to Ka­tushaAlpecin which has so far not borne fruit. The team has strug­gled to make an im­pres­sion, with only three wins as we went to press, the joint-low­est in the WorldTour. And they have the small­est num­ber of top-three fin­ishes in to­tal, with nine. Kit­tel was anony­mous in his lat­est out­ing, at the Tour of Cal­i­for­nia, with fourth his best fin­ish.When Kit­tel is strong, con­fi­dent and the fin­ish straight­for­ward, he is prob­a­bly the most in­tim­i­dat­ing and ef­fec­tive sprinter in the world. But he doesn’t love the rough-and­tum­ble of a tac­ti­cal fin­ish, and if his con­fi­dence is low, he can’t sprint his way out of it. Stage 1 of the Tour is maybe more im­por­tant for him than any other sprinter.

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