Marcel Kittel to race Tour de Yorkshire as sprinter looks to get season back on track

The German's team recently called for 'crisis talks' after the sprinter's recent poor form

Marcel Kittel at Scheldeprijs 2019 (Photo by Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) is to race the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire, the rider has confirmed.

The German is looking to kick start his year after a disappointing early season, with the German admitting he was going through "a difficult period" after finishing 99th and 4-30 down in Scheldeprijs, a race he has previously won five times.

Kittel began 2019 with a win in the Trofeo Palma at Challenge Mallorca but has not crossed the finish line first since. At the UAE Tour his best finish was third and he then abandoned Paris-Nice halfway through the race. The 30-year-old then failed to contest the bunch sprint at Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne, followed by a disappointing performance at Scheldedprijs, which forced his team to call a "crisis meeting" over the rider's poor form.

The sprinter responded to this, saying: "Always easy to beat a man when he’s on the ground. I’m facing a difficult period and I’m thankful for everyone who is supporting me now. To those people making headlines on my cost now: enjoy your minute of fame!"

The 14-time Tour de France stage winner last took the start line in Yorkshire at the inaugural edition of the race in 2015. The year before, the German took one of his Tour de France stage wins at the Grand Depart in Yorkshire, wearing the yellow jersey on stage two between York and Sheffield.

>>> Tour de Yorkshire 2019 route: maps and profiles of every stage

Kittel said: "It’s going to be nice to be back in Yorkshire because of all the memories I have from 2014. It's a great experience to race there in front of all those spectators and I'm looking forward to it."

Other big names who have recently announced they will race the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire include British road race champion Connor Swift (Madison Genesis) and world TT champion Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) will take the start in Barnsley in the women's race.

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.