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by Shane Stokes
August 17, 2017
In today’s Daily News Digest: Vuillermoz wins stage 2 of the Tour du Limousin; Kittel signs two-year contract with Katusha-Alpecin; Viviani to race for QuickStep Floors until end of 2019; Dimension Data confirms Vuelta lineup, Morton to make his debut; Warbasse, Denifl and Blythe lead Aqua Blue Sport in team’s first Vuelta; Molly Weaver moves to Drops Cycling; Olympic champion Rissveds to miss MTB worlds due to sponsorship clash with national federation; Team Sky unveils new ‘Race Hub’ for Vuelta a España; Video: Don’t try this at home part I; Video: Don’t try this at home part II
Winner of five stages in this year’s Tour de France, Marcel Kittel has inked a deal with the Katusha-Alpecin team to compete with the squad until the end of 2019. The German had previous connections with the co-sponsor when it backed his previous Giant-Alpecin team.
“I’m really looking forward to a new challenge in new colours,” the 29-year-old said. “For me, this moment is exciting. With this step, I also hope to get new inspiration. I think I find all the requirements in the team that I need to be strong in the sprint finals. I saw that the sprint train is functioning very well.”
Winner of 14 Tour de France stages plus four in the Giro d’Italia and one in the Vuelta, he is regarded as one of the very best sprinters in cycling. He looked like a possible winner of the green jersey in this year’s Tour but crashed and withdrew from the race while leading the competition. His move to Katusha-Alpecin will see him take up the slot vacated by a departing Alexander Kristoff, and could see Kittel get the opportunity to contest the Classics. He told CyclingTips earlier this year that he wanted to give races such as Paris-Roubaix a shot.
“We are very happy to have Marcel in the team,” stated the team’s general manager José Azevedo. “We can say that he is at the moment the best sprinter in the world. He showed this quite impressively in the Tour de France where he won five stages. He will be one of our most important riders and can look forward to strong team support. We will try to support him in the best possible way to ensure that he can continue his successful results.”
Kittel’s move will see him reunited with former teammate Tony Martin. He said that this was ‘icing on the cake’ in terms of the transfer to Katusha-Alpecin, and that Martin’s view of the team was a factor in his decision.