German sprinter's fitness is the catalyst in being left out by his Giant-Alpecin team

Marcel Kittel will not ride the 2015 Tour de France, as he is not at a high enough level of fitness to compete in the three-week race.

The German has looked out of sorts since making his season debut at the Tour Down Under in January, and has been laid low with illness for much of the season. His last competitive race was at the Ster ZLM Tour, but the sprinter was unable to feature alongside his rivals on any of the stage finishes.

>>> Tour de France 2015 start list: latest team announcements

That lack of competitive edge will see Kittel left out of this year’s Tour by his Giant-Alpecin team, meaning he will not be able to add to the eight stage wins he’s accrued over the 2013 and 2014 editions of the race.

“The team decided that Kittel’s basic fitness is still not sufficient to compete in the Tour de France,” the team said in a press release on Thursday.

“Therefore the team will be strengthened for stage success over a different type of parcours, the hard sprints. For now, an alternative racing program will be determined by the performance team and Kittel himself and new goals will be set for the autumn to structurally work towards them.”

The 27-year-old, who has worn the maillot jaune on two occassions and has won the last two sprints on the Champs-Élysées, was left dispondent with the news, after suggesting he was feeling ready for the Tour earlier this month.

“Of course I am disappointed about not participating in the Tour de France this year,” said Kittel. “But I will have to look ahead and focus on new goals.”

Giant are now likely to focus their efforts around 2015 Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix winner John Degenkolb, while Dutch time trial specialist Tom Dumoulin will hope to claim the yellow jersey on the Tour’s opening time trial in Utrecht.

Giant-Alpecin line-up for 2015 Tour de France:

Warren Barguil (FRA)
Roy Curvers (NED)
John Degenkolb (GER)
Tom Dumoulin (NED)
Simon Geschke (GER)
Koen de Kort (NED)
Georg Preidler (AUT)
Ramon Sinkeldam (NED)
Albert Timmer (NED)

Guide to the 2015 Tour de France route

  • Joel

    Fair points, but Cav isn’t always a dead cert to beat the likes of Sagan, Degenkolb and Kristoff. The latter two who can kick hard and keep it going for a long distance.

    Anyway, it all makes for an enticing Tour. Hope Cav is in green in Paris.

  • Aurelio

    As I said before, the change in the points competition favours the pure sprinters like Cav. Without Kittel only Greipel is able to beat Cav in the flatter stages. Guys like Demare and Bouhanni will be happy if wins 1 stage and will not aim for the jersey. Farrar is a leadout guy and will aim for the same stages as Dengenkolb and Sagan, harder sprints that give less points than the flatter stages.

  • Aurelio

    The changes in the points competition makes the pure sprinters favorites for the jersey if one of them can take a lot of wins in the “super sprint” stages. So Sagan will not have as much as an advantage as the last 3 years.
    Without Kittel Cav has only Greipel as a closer competitor.

  • Joel

    Sagan would argue with that.

    Cav still has a lot of competition, Modolo, Sagan, Degenkolb, Kristoff & Coquard are all looking impressive, and then there’s the others: Bouhanni, Viviani, Farrar, Demare, Bennett. Kittels a big miss but it means that Degenkolb won’t be sharing the spoils with him this year.

    Anything can happen in a sprint, you’d say Cav was favourite to take a few stages last year but we all know the unfortunate circumstances there. I hope Cav gets multiple wins this year, it’s just far from certain.

  • Prestachuck

    If I was a betting man, I would put my money on Peter Sagan for the green points jersey.

  • Aurelio

    A sick Kittel was bad but a no Kittel is worse. Now Cav is favorite to every sprint stage and the green jersey.

  • dourscot

    A huge loss for the race and, in a way, for Cavendish too. The British rider is spurred on by competition of the sort of Kittel has given him.