Marcel Kittel’s disastrous start to the season is set to continue as the German sprinter was ruled out of the Tour of California, which starts on Sunday.
The Giant-Alpecin rider tried to return at the Tour de Yorkshire last weekend, but withdrew midway through stage one looking in noticeable discomfort.
In a statement released by his team, Kittel confirmed that he would not line up in Sacremento on May 10, admitting his condition is still not at a high enough level to compete in the race.
“After the Tour de Yorkshire we decided to take some more time for training, as I am not yet back to the race fitness needed for such a big and prestigious race as the Tour of California, and I will focus on training and working toward the next goals this season,” he said.
Cycling fans were gearing up for a battle of the fastmen between Kittel and Mark Cavendish, but it now looks likely that duel will have to wait until the Tour de France.
The team statement read: “In consultation with the performance staff and Kittel himself, the team decided to follow a different program in building up to his upcoming season goals. An alternative racing program will be determined by the team.”
Lawson Craddock, who endeared himself to the Yorkshire crowd with a gutsy stage three breakaway, will ride for Giant in California, with Frenchman Warren Barguil leading the team.
Giant-Alpecin for the Tour of California
Warren Barguil, Lawson Craddock, Roy Curvers, Thierry Hupond, Carter Jones, Koen de Kort, Zico Waeytens