Marcel Kittel: “I’m happy to start racing”
The 27-year-old German talked with the media ahead of the Dubai Tour, his first event of the season.
One of the most successful cyclists in the current peloton, Marcel Kittel is ready to return to action this week, at the third edition of the Dubai Tour, which is set to start on Wednesday, February 3rd. The Etixx – Quick-Step rider is attending the Middle East competition for the second time in his career, and awaits with confidence to take part again in a race known for its sprint showdown, as well as the eye-catching sky dunes and skyscrapers scenery. One day before kicking-off his season, the German sat down and talked with the journalists who came to follow the event which will serve as an appetizer early in the season.
"It's good to start the year together with a new team. I'm really happy with the time I've already spent with the guys in the training camp, and now the moment has come to show how motivated I am for this season."
I feel at home in the Etixx – Quick-Step structure, I'm very comfortable, we developed a really good feeling in the team, and that's very important for me and for us all.
"Dubai is a race with many sprints on the table, and we'll see what we can achieve, but we will do this without any pressure whatsoever, by being patient and taking one thing at a time", said Marcel Kittel.
Starting his sixth season in the pro peloton, the German will be one of the top names in the race, but downplayed the idea that the Dubai Tour will be a showdown between him and the 2015 winner, Mark Cavendish: "I know everybody's talking about us, but let's have a look at the startlist and see there's not only us there, but also Giacomo Nizzolo, Elia Viviani and other strong and motivated sprinters who will challenge for sprint victories. The race is going to be an open affair, and we have to be aware of that."
Alongside Kittel at the Dubai Tour will be also fellow countryman Tony Martin – the three time individual time trial world champion – with whom he reunited this season after racing together in the U23 category almost a decade ago: "We were part of the same team as amateurs, but since we turned professional we went on separate ways, until now. It's nice to be again on the same team, and I'm really glad of that, as he's a very good friend of mine."
Besides Marcel Kittel and Tony Martin, Etixx – Quick-Step will also line-up Iljo Keisse, Nikolas Maes, Matteo Trentin, Fabio Sabatini, Julien Vermote and Lukasz Wisniowski. The first stage of the event (Dubai – Fujairah, 179 km) will see the sprinters fight for victory and for the bonus seconds which could turn out to play a major role in the final outcome.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele