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October 25, 2015
Photography by Cor Vos
He’s worked closely with Mark Cavendish for several years, helping him become the best sprinter in recent decades, and now he’ll try to bring Marcel Kittel back to the form that earned him eight stage wins in two Tours.
Etixx – Quick-Step director Brian Holm has pledged to work with Kittel to overcome the problems he had this season; specifically, a virus that complicated the early months of the year and poor form that lingered thereafter.
“I am looking to see if we can get the old Kittel back,” he told Feltet.dk. “That will be the task, and we will try to make a race program so that he comes good in time again. If he is not on top, he should not race. We will take care of him.”
Kittel got 2015 off to a good start, winning the Down Under Classic. However several lacklustre months followed, prompting his frustrated Giant-Alpecin to pass him over for the Tour de France.
He responded by winning a stage of the Tour of Poland and finishing second on another, but that was as good as it got; the remainder of his season was a quiet one, with twelfth on stage four of the Abu Dhabi Tour the only solid showing.
Holm faults the decision to race the German when he needed rest.
“Kittel should not have raced when he was ill and it destroyed him,” he said. “If he comes back after his virus, it will be exciting.”
He believes this is achievable. “He will return, and he will win races,” he asserts. “He has something that others do not have. He is a winner and he has an extra gear…there are not many who can follow him.”
Holm added that he doesn’t see any reason why the team shouldn’t support him in the Tour de France.