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by Shane Stokes
October 3, 2015
Photography by Cor Vos
Almost certainly referring to Tom Dumoulin’s breakthrough ride at the Vuelta a España, a performance which illustrated that he could become a real Grand Tour contender, Marce Kittel has said that a change in direction for the Giant-Alpecin team was one of the reasons why he quit the squad.
The team and the German sprinter both confirmed Friday that he will be competing elsewhere in 2016, thus ending a partnership which began in 2011. His contract had been due to run until the end of next season but a difficult year in 2015 plus non-selection for races such as the Tour de France led him to seek a fresh start.
Kittel spoke about his desire to move on in a statement released by his Giant-Alpecin team. However he went into matters in greater depth on his personal blog page, listing the various factors there.
“After a season of illness, especially the virus direct at the start and the missed races such as the Tour de France, I have a year behind me which from a sporting aspect I can only consider a major setback,” he wrote.
“I have some bad months behind me, which were emotionally very difficult. But even difficult situations are good for something and they bring to daylight truths which can be uncomfortable, but out of which one grows and from which one must draw conclusions.
The Dumoulin angle was also dealt with.
“In addition to my personal experiences I have also realized that Team Giant Alpecin has changed and wants to go in a new direction,” he continued. “The focus on the GC brings of course a new direction to how the team is composed. For me as a pure sprinter there comes the question, of whether my ambitions will be given enough room.
“In the end, we were not able to agree on the definition of our goals. I haver therefore decided to change teams.”
Kittel reflected on his time with the team, saying that he and the squad celebrated some great victories. He is proud of what he did.
“I could give the team management the yellow jersey at the Tour de France twice and eight stage wins,” he said, naming some highlights.
He’s grateful for the support that made those moments possible. “I especially want to thank the riders with whom I have celebrated these successes and who selflessly worked for me. Thank you! That was something great and something special, the way we all got along. I enjoyed being underway with you all. True friendships have come out of it.”
He also thanked fans and promised them that there will be reasons to celebrate in the future.
He has been linked to a possible move to the Etixx – Quick-Step team. As was the case with his team, Kittel didn’t give any details at this point.
“As to where my way now goes, well, my new team and I will make that announcement soon,” he said.