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Marcel Kittel’s difficult season has led to suggestions lately that he might even miss the Tour de France, but the chances of that appear to be fading fast as the effects of his recent training camp show their benefits.
The Giant-Alpecin rider did a high altitude block in Sierra Nevada and then clocked up his best result since January on Sunday, placing sixth in the Rund um Koln in Germany.
Kittel won the bunch sprint to the line behind five breakaway riders, crossing the line a minute behind the winner Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep).
“The additional mountain training in the Sierra Nevada the last three weeks sure made itself noticed,” said Kittel, writing about the race and his sensations on his blog. “Only at the beginning of the race did I not have good legs. That was surely due to the long trip and after all, my body has to get used to it again.
“By the way, my sprint values were very good again. I am on the best way back to my old strength. And I could even work on my climbing form – yes, even sprinters have that ;-) – even though some of my teammates, especially Warren Barguil, set a very high standard. But I did fairly well and as I said, could feel the first effects today.”
He will spend two days at home and will then travel to the ZLM Toer. He will be joined there by team-mates Roy Curvers, Bert De Backer, Lars van der Haar, Fredrik Ludvigsson, Ramon Sinkeldam, Tom Stamsnijder and Zico Waeytens.
The five day race will give a much clearer picture of his form and, if it goes well, will put him in the right frame of mind to chase more success in the Tour de France.