Etixx-Quick Step directeur sportif Brian Holm is full of praise for his new charge Marcel Kittel and declared his confidence that the German sprinter would add to his win tally in 2016.
Kittel endured a miserable season in 2015, with his early-season preparations cut short by illness, before being overlooked for both the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana, as well as Germany’s World Championships team in September.
>> Struggling to get to the shops? Try 6 issues of Cycling Weekly magazine for just £6 delivered to your door <<
Kittel replaces Mark Cavendish as Etixx’s lead sprinter in 2016, with the Manxman leaving to join Dimension Data. But Holm believes his former protege will find it harder to settle with his new team than Kittel will at Etixx.
“With Cav, you really have to know him good to love him,” he told Cycling Weekly. “Everybody loves Kittel, or Tom Boonen, or Tony Martin – that’s easy because they’re so [laid back]…but, with Cav, you have to take him because he starts to stress and sometimes you have the feeling you have to smash him before he shuts up.
“Sometimes you have to say, ‘Cav, shut the f*** up’…then he’ll come and say sorry.”
And who is going to do that at Dimension Data?
“I hope [Rolf] Aldag [Dimension Data Performance Manager],” Holm said. “I think he can handle it.”
He added: “[Dimension Data] needed somebody like [Aldag] to survive.”