Marcel Kittel abandons Tour de Yorkshire on stage one

German sprinter pulls out of race with illness mid-way through stage one

Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin) has abandoned the Tour de Yorkshire during stage one of the three day race. The German sprinter reportedly stepped of the bike after feeling ill and unable to continue on the bike.

The Tour de Yorkshire was Kittel's first race back since taking time off due to a virus, which he began to suffer from shortly after the end of the Tour of Qatar in February.

Having won the first stage into Harrogate and taking the yellow jersey during last year's Tour de France, Kittel was a headline name for the inaugural edition of the race, but clearly felt far from race fit after such a long lay-off.

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The 26-year-old is set to appear at the Tour of California next, which starts on May 10 in Sacramento, as he tries to find "race rythm" ahead of the Tour de France in July.

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Richard Windsor

Follow on Twitter: @richwindy

Richard is digital editor of Cycling Weekly. Joining the team in 2013, Richard became editor of the website in 2014 and coordinates site content and strategy, leading the news team in coverage of the world's biggest races and working with the tech editor to deliver comprehensive buying guides, reviews, and the latest product news.

An occasional racer, Richard spends most of his time preparing for long-distance touring rides these days, or getting out to the Surrey Hills on the weekend on his Specialized Tarmac SL6 (with an obligatory pub stop of course).