In one-year's time, Marcel Kittel has gone from neo-pro to one of the elite sprinters in the peloton. Photo: Bettini
News Update: Kittel takes the win in the battlefield of Scheldeprijs
In the chaotic final of Wednesday’s hundredth edition of the Scheldeprijs Marcel Kittel showed he was the strongest rider of the pack. The sprinter of Team Argos-Shimano won the Belgian semi-classic by winning the sprint of a thinned peloton.
The pack was watered down because of some crashes due to heavy rain. The peloton was cracked into at least four groups. At the front only twenty to twenty-five riders where able to sustain. Kittel had Bert de Backer and Tom Veelers on his side and was able to beat Tyler Farrar and Theo Bos.
Kittel’s victory is the first since Project 1t4i changed its name to Team Argos-Shimano
Following in the footsteps of German sprint stars Eric Zabel and Andre Greipel, 23-year old Marcel Kittel hasn’t wasted any time picking up where he left off last season. In his very first year going head to head with the sport's best sprinters Kittel racked up Pro Tour victory after victory, including four stage wins in the Tour of Poland and a stage win at the Vuelta a Espana. The German hotrod is firing on all cylinders as Project 1t4i
makes their bid for a Tour de France wildcard invitation, their main objective of the season. The sprinter and notable time trialist enters his second season on the Dutch team, 1t4i (Skil-Shimano last season/now Team Argos-Shimano), after spending three seasons with the Continental team Thuringer Energie, in addition to racing for the German National Team.
During Project 1t4i’s trip to the San Diego Slow Speed Wind Tunnel last December (read about it here
), we got an exclusive look at the Felt F1 road bike Kittel has recently sprinted to three early season wins, including two stage wins in the Tour of Oman.
Felt joins the team for 2012 and provides F1 and AR road frames, as well as DA time trial frames. Kittel’s Felt F1
frameset has custom Project 1t4i graphics, but that’s the only custom thing about it. The frame is completely stock, with the same one available at any Felt dealer. The bike's build is a Shimano-heavy project, featuring a Dura-Ace Di2 group, Dura-Ace 50mm wheels, and PRO components (which is a Shimano owned brand).
As with the majority of professional cyclists, Kittel uses a power meter for training and racing. His Shimano Dura-Ace crank uses a SRM meter, the gold-standard in power meters. The four-bearing Dura-Ace pedals may not be the lightest on the market, but when it comes to axle stiffness and longevity, they’re tough to beat.
The PRO Vibe seatpost uses a double bolt clamp design, which the team mechanic claims makes it easily adjustable and slip-resistant. The 20mm setback lets Kittel get into a stretched out position that only the most flexible riders are able to enjoy. A carbon-railed SLR saddle is Kittel’s choice within the Selle Italia line.
Much to Kittel’s delight, the Felt F1 uses a tapered head tube (1-1/8 to 1-1/2) to provide the front end stiffness a powerful sprinter needs. Sleek routing for the Di2 wires has them entering the bottom of the downtube, keeping them out of the way. Since the team bikes are already right at the 15-pound UCI weight limit, PRO alloy stem and handlebars are used rather than the carbon options.
The green box tells all, and never lies. The Germans are notorious for their scientific training methods, and Kittel’s development is no doubt closely monitored by his coach using the info recorded on his SRM power meter. His 30-second power is rumored to be some of the highest in the entire peloton, hence his victories that number in the double digits just in the past year alone.
Felt gets our applause for not ruining the looks of the frame by mounting the unsightly Di2 battery on the downtube. The left chainstay is equipped with the necessary hardware to mount the battery, keeping its center of gravity as low as possible and out of the way.