Marcel Kittel said after his win today in the Three Days of De Panne that his dream is in the Tour de France. He wants to take on Mark Cavendish and win the most famous sprinters’ stage on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
“I want to win on the Champs-Élysées in Paris,” the German told Cycling Weekly in a press conference. “That’s my big dream.”
The 23-year-old took on mostly a B-grade of sprinters today along the Belgian coast in Oostduinkerke. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Boy Van Poppel (United Healthcare) both challenged him, but settled for second and third place after 216.1 kilometres in the race’s second leg.
It is an important week for Kittel’s Dutch Project 1t4i team. On Friday, the day after the race ends, the team will announce its new sponsor. The rumours are that it is a merging oil company, which is still without a name.
“I don’t even know, that’s not a lie,” Kittel said. “I will find out on Friday in the presentation.”
Last year the team raced as Skil-Shimano and three years ago, it competed in its first Grand Tour, the Tour de France. The Dutch press will tell you that the team is almost certain to get one of the four wildcard invitations this year and that Kittel will have a chance at fulfilling his dream.
“I’ve got to race it first, that’s true. We still need an invitation.”
Kittel, to be fair, has already proven himself in a Grand Tour and against A-grade sprinters. At the Vuelta a España last year, he won the seventh leg in Talavera de la Reina. Peter Sagan and Oscar Freire finished second and third. Also in the group was Alessandro Petacchi. Cavendish, though, had already gone home to race the Tour of Britain and to prepare for his eventual World Championship win.
They faced each other in the Tour of Oman. Kittel won stage three and six, where Cavendish finished eighth and 14th. Kittel would like to see Cavendish again in Antwerp for the start of the Scheldeprijs. “I want to,” he said of facing Cavendish. “I’m looking to it.” However, it seems unlikely with the birth of Cavendish’s first child any day now.
The next big appointment, if all goes according to his team’s plan, will be for the start of the Tour de France in Liège.
Marcel Kittel wins stage two of the Three Days of De Panne