Marcel Kittel wins stage two of the 2016 Giro d'ItaliaNationality: German
Date of birth: May 11, 1988
Height: 189cm
Weight: 86kg
Team: Quick-Step Floors
Twitter: @marcelkittel

Marcel Kittel is a sprinter who became recognised as one of the fast men of cycling when he took stage wins at the Tour de France in 2013.

Marcel Kittel in 2017

Kittel proved he was on fine form at the Tour de France – with victories on the secondsixthseventhtenth and eleventh  stages, making him the most successful sprinter of the 2017 tour. His fourth stage victory also made him the most decorated German sprinter at the Tour de France too. Unfortunately, he crashed on stage seventeen, taking him out of the race and giving the green jersey up to the next best rider.

In the lead up to the Grand Tour, he also took the honours on the first stage of the Tour of California.

With a golden debut by team mate Fernando Gaviria at the 2017 Giro d’Italia, Kittel may find his needs surplus to requirement. This makes the 2017 Tour de France a vital opportunity for the Germany sprinter to show he can produce on the highest stage once more.

Marcel Kittel: rise to fame

Marcel Kittel burst on to the scene when he won four stages of the 2013 Tour de France, stealing Mark Cavendish’s crown as the sprint king of the peloton.

The big German had previously won stages in the Vuelta but his Tour debut in 2012 had ended abruptly due to illness. Now with stage wins in the 2014 Giro d’Italia he has joined an elite group of riders with wins in all three Grand Tours.

The 2015 season brought a disappointing start, but Kittel bounced back and picked up a Tour de France stage win (where he also finished second in the green jersey standings) alongside 11 other victories.

Marcel Kittel: career to date

A first Tour de France start beckoned in 2012, but this ended in disappointment as Kittel was forced to abandon on stage five through illness and a knee injury. However, better was to come the following year.

His Giant-Shimano sprint train took charge at the 2013 Tour as  Cavendish’s Omega Pharma-Quick Step outfit didn’t have the right riders to fulfill this role. Kittel’s loyal team mates adapted their approach choosing to hit a bunch sprint fast and late (Cavendish’s preference is for his team to take control for the final 10km).

As an amateur rider, Marcel Kittel rode at the same Thüringer Energie Team as John Degenkolb and Tony Martin, and like Martin was an exceptional time triallist as a junior and under-23 talent.

The German rider turned professional with Skil-Shimano in 2011, picking up his first pro win at only the third attempt on stage three of the Tour de Langkawi. He also picked up his first Grand Tour victory at that year’s Vuelta a España.

Kittel made history in 2014, when managed to win his third consecutive Scheldeprijs and he has twice worn the maillot jaune, having won the first stage of the Tour in 2013 and 2014.

2015 was something of a nightmare for the young German sprinter, however, with Kittel picking up a virus at the Tour Down Under which had a knock-on effect on his entire season. He struggled through the Tour of Qatar and was forced to withdraw from Tirreno-Adriatico, managing just 12 racing days before May. He returned to racing at the Tour de Yorkshire, but abandoned during the first stage.

Despite winning a stage and the points jersey at the Tour of Poland, Kittel was overlooked for Giant-Alpecin’s Vuelta team and Germany’s line-up for the World Championships and he was eventually allowed out of the final year of his contract by mutual consent.

With Cavendish leaving Etixx-Quick Step for Dimension Data, a sprinter’s spot opened up at the Belgian outfit and Kittel signed in October, determined to make up for a torrid 2015.

Kittel got off the mark immediately, winning stage one of the Dubai Tour on his Etixx debut, before adding the fourth and final stage on his way to both the overall and points classifications. After collecting more wins throughout the spring, Kittel made his mark on the 2016 Giro with two stage wins and a spell in the overall race lead.

Kittel’s top speed is his strongest weapon, and the fact that he can hold it for longer than other sprinters (due to his time trial prowess as an amateur) could see him dominate the sprints for years to come, especially with the power of Quick-Step Floors behind him.