(Road Bike Action & AFP; Photo: Bettini)
German sprint star Marcel Kittel has signed a two-year contract with the Etixx-QuickStep cycling team after parting ways with Giant-Alpecin, his new team announced on Monday. Kittel, 27, had one year left on his contract with Giant but relations with the team had soured after he was left out of this year’s Tour de France. The German has been plagued by illness and injury this season with Giant deciding that Kittel wasn’t ready to ride the three-week event, in which he won eight stages across the 2013 and 2014 editions.
“I have realized that the team has changed and wants to go in a new direction. I have therefore decided to change teams,” Kittel wrote on his personal website on Saturday.
Etixx-QuickStep CEO Patrick Lefevere said the Belgian outfit were delighted to have Kittel for the 2016 and 2017 seasons, adding: “In the last years he showed incredible pure speed, which makes him one of the best sprinters in the history of the sport. We are sure that, together, we can achieve more big goals, and that we have yet to see the best of Marcel Kittel.”
Last month, British sprint star Mark Cavendish ended a three-year stint with Etixx-QuickStep after signing with South African team Dimension Data.