Marcel Kittel by Tino Pohlmann

3.7.2018, CANYON Canyon riders who will shape the Tour de France

Marcel Kittel: The Sprinter

There are only a handful of riders in the peloton who fall into the bracket of “pure” sprinters. Within that bracket, Marcel Kittel is perhaps the purest of them all: 82 kg of muscle and bone standing 6 ft 2. It’s no secret that his stature holds the keys to the excessive number of watts he can push through the pedals. Put Kittel in an out-and-out drag race with any other rider in the world and chances are high that the big German will come out on top thanks to raw power alone.

Now 30, Kittel is no longer the freshest name on the scene as he once was as the first time he took a stage win and the maillot jaune in 2013, but that doesn’t mean anyone should rule him out. Only last year he silenced his doubters to take five stage victories in the Tour de France, more than any other rider on the race.

So far this season his win tally hasn’t matched those from previous years, but the world’s biggest bike race brings out a different side in proven winners, especially when backed into a corner. Kittel’s reliance on a strong lead-out train means it's takes time for all the components to click in a new team. Katusha-Alpecin head into the 2018 Tour committed to balancing Kittel’s sprint ambitions with Ilnur Zakarin’s overall aspirations. The German’s first chance to shine will come right on stage one with a sprint royale expected in the Vendée and the race’s first yellow jersey up for grabs.

Don’t be surprised to see Kittel punching a hole at the front of the pack on the Aeroad CF SLX come July the 7th. Having spent two days in yellow in his career so far, he’ll be hungry for a third. All good things come in threes.