Marcel Kittel (Etixx-Quick Step) is in a bullish mood ahead of the opening stages of the 2016 Giro d’Italia, with the German saying he doesn’t fear any of the other sprinters in the race.

The battle for the first sprint stages will be fierce, with many of the peloton’s fastest riders heading to the Netherlands, including Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge).

Kittel is also a decent time triallist, so will be looking not to lose too much time to the specialists in the first stage’s 9.8km to maintain a hope of wearing the pink jersey at some point in the first week.

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The time bonuses on offer for the first three riders across the line could allow Kittel to take the overall lead on stage two or three if he can limit his losses on stage one.

Kittel may not make it all the way to Turin, especially with a gruelling third week in the mountains, but the German will be a favourite to wear the red sprinter’s jersey in the first two weeks.

  • David Holland

    Ok, fair enough. I think it would be pretty dull if the sprinters didn’t sprint all out to contest a Sprint finish. No one is going to be watching them in the last week anyway as they will be 30 mins behind the winners, don’t think they get much air time back there. The sponsors would rather Kittel win one stage than finish 50th in 21 stages. I for one would rather Kittel sprint all out leaving nothing back for a few stages than him just finish the race, that’s pretty dull.

  • MrHaematocrit

    I am aware of the stage time rule but then he should conserve the energy to survive in area which are not his strength its not like the climbers or the GC contenders do not have to contest the stages that end in sprints. The fact he is basically stating before the race starts that hes planning on turning up beasting himself for a couple of stages and then leave is disrespectful to fans, sponsors, and the event imho.
    Any rider doing the entire event will have to conserve energy and balance effort which means they will never be in a position to compete with the likes of kittel.
    I just think all riders should compete under the same terms as the others.

  • David Holland

    They have a rule that if you finish beyond a certain time after the first people cross the line you are relegated. Large sprinters like Kittel would often fall foul of this on the mountain stages towards the end of the Tour.

  • MrHaematocrit

    You should only be awarded stage wins if you complete the event, turning up winning a couple of stages and buggering off when the going gets hard is a pretty poor trend and disrespectful to fans who may have made the effort to come and support you.

  • Samuel Clemens

    I do like this Kittel fellow.

  • with a comment like that, you’re not German by any chance?