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A two year sponsorship deal announced Tuesday by the Etixx – Quick-Step team has fuelled suggestions that Marcel Kittel could be on his way to the team.
Kittel is currently the main sprinter with Giant-Alpecin, although he has had a quiet season due to illness and a lack of form. However with Mark Cavendish leaving Etixx – Quick-Step for MTN Qhubeka/Team Dimension Data, it appears there may be a gap for another proven winner to come on board.
According to Het Nieuwsblad, a two year deal between Kittel and the team will be finalised in the coming days, after team chief Patrick Lefevere and the German sprinter came to what it terms a gentleman’s agreement.
The Etixx – Quick-Step team has not yet responded to a request for clarification. Giant-Alpecin CEO Iwan Spekenbrink is currently travelling back to Europe from the US and was not available for comment.
CyclingTips contacted the TeamSpirit GmbH agency representing Kittel. An agency employee said that it had no information about the story, which she played down. “We don’t right now know something,” she stated.
According to Het Nieuwsblad such a move would still require a green light from Giant-Alpecin. Kittel would have to buy out the final year of his contract, something which would presumably be part of his negotiations with Etixx – Quick-Step.
The transfer rumour gained a little impetus when Etixx – Quick-Step confirmed a new two year sponsorship agreement with Lidl.
— Etixx – Quick-Step (@Etixx_QuickStep) September 30, 2015
Were Kittel to move to the team, he will reunite with former Thuringia Energy team-mate Tony Martin.
He would also have a fresh start after what has been a difficult season. He was passed over for selection for the Tour de France, something he was disappointed with. While he then took a stage win in the Tour de Pologne, his performances have been muted since then.
Kittel’s agent stated several weeks ago that he would see out his current contract.