The German sprinter was also slammed by Katusha-Alpecin sports director in Saturday’s edition of L’Equipe, claiming he was only interested in himself and was playing on his phone during the team briefing before the stage three team time trial in Cholet.
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Kittel spoke to Eurosport ahead of the stage eight start in Dreux: “I think today is the best stage for a pure sprinter, its flat and if you look at the profile yesterday it had 2,500m of climbing, so was not really the definition of a very flat stage, I guess it’s a bit easier today but we have to be concentrated so things like letting the breakaway that is too big go.”
Yesterday’s stage was the longest of the Tour de France at 231 kilometres, in which Kittel rolled in in 70th place at the back of the sprinters pack as team mate Rik Zabel took up the team sprinters role.
Watch: Tour de France stage seven highlights
“We made a change, and I think he tried his best, I personally wasn’t feeling great and it wasn’t my day,” Kittel said.
“I just tried to get over it and move on and focus on today as it is a goal for me and a goal for the team. I really want to go for it and I think especially after yesterday it is important to find the balance between of going for it and staying relaxed that’s the goal for today.”
The Katusha-Alpecin rider has had issues with his sprint train all season since his move from Quick-Step Floors, but believes it will come together on today’s stage or on flatter stages later on in the race.
“I think yesterday we did a good job, we were there when we had to move up but I wasn’t there so I can’t really blame anyone but myself so I take that on my account and try to do better today. We had a good meeting, talked to the guys and we have a good plan so we’ll see what happens.”