Kittel staying focused: “It is a big problem if you start to become arrogant”

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He may have clocked up four stages in last year’s Tour de France and taken the first sprinting stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia, but Marcel Kittel has said that he is determined not to take his abilities for granted.

The German rider warned that complacency is the biggest danger for a rider in his position, and to remain successful requires continuing to work hard and to show full respect for his rivals.

“I saw today as well that Bouhanni and also Viviani are strong sprinters that will definitely challenge us in the next days here in the Giro,” he said at Saturday’s post-race press conference. “That’s where we will concentrate as a team.

“I think it’s a big problem if you start to become arrogant or think it’s easy to beat them, because it’s for sure not like that. It’s hard work and we will always keep that in mind.”

Kittel spoke for some time to the media, and faced a variety of questions. One of those concerned the future of his Giant-Shimano team, with the journalist concerned asking him if there were grounds for the riders to be worried at suggestions that the current backers will not continue past the end of the season.

“The contract is till the end of the year, but of course we could always extend the contract,” he said, saying that it was premature to panic.

“I think we are on a good way. That’s what I heard from the management of our team. That makes me to not be worried because I trust them as they trust us as riders.”

Kittel and his team-mates know that the best way to improve the chances of a new deal for 2015 is to have as successful a season as is possible. The German has already taken a number of victories and said that he would continue to do so on Sunday, his birthday.

“I don’t know if I’ll get any presents but I think it’s all in our hands to at least maybe have another win for the birthday,” he said. “So, it would be great but I think it’s also not likely that I will put myself now under more pressure.

“I said it already before…I will just have the same approach together with the team to do the stage and see how it goes. We will concentrate again on the sprint and we’ll see where we will end up.”

In the video above Kittel also comments on the Giro d’Italia in Northern Ireland, talks about his chances of continuing until the end of the race, names some of those who he considers are his biggest sprinting rivals and reveals whether he will make taking the Tour de France’s green jersey one of his prime targets.

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