Place 17 - Marcel Kittel
Type of Rider: Time trial, Sprinter
Biggest Achievements: 2 times Junior Time Trial World Champion
Team/Club 2010: Thüringer Energie Team
Team 2011: Skil
Best Mock List Ranking: 3rd (2009)
Big Things were expected of Marcel Kittel this year. Last year he placed third in the Mock list ranking and seemed to be more than ready to prove himself in the big world of Pro cycling. This third place in the ranking didn’t stem just from his world class successes in 2009, but from years being at the absolute top level since his times as a Junior. Against all expectations, the rider from Arnstadt decided to race one more year at the Under 23 level. That is why he was now, as the third cyclist after Tony Martin and Simon Clarke, nominated in a Mock List for the third time.
That this year Marcel Kittel is not ranked 3rd but 14 steps lower, shows that this season didn’t bring what he himself and the cycling world in general expected from him.
A knee injury can be blamed for that. His season war more or less brought to a halt, until June he barely raced. Also the Under 23 tour “Thüringen-Rundfahrt”, Germany’s top notch proving ground, came too early for him.
One week later he began to perform at top level in his age group again. At the “Mainfranken-Tour” (2.2U) he placed third in the short prologue time trial. Kittel in top form without doubt would have crushed Gmelich and Plötner on this day. The first stage he finished fifth in a sprint. On the second stage he won the field sprint for second place behind breakaway winner Marc Goos. In the general classification Kittel also took the second place.
His form was on the raise, proven by taking the German Time Trail title at the end of June by a tiny margin from New Under 23 rider Michel Koch and Michael Weicht. Here again a Kittel in top form should have taken more than 3 seconds from them. But who asks for the time gap when taking the Gold medal and the striped Champion’s jersey?
Marcel Kittel not only knows how to sprint and time-trial, he also covers hilly terrain very well, as it is essential for a complete rider. This he proved in Norway in the month of August. There he won the queen stage of the “Festningsrittet” (2.2) with a short final climb one second ahead of Jesse Anthony. Kittel reached top five placings in all stages and finished third in the final classification.
This win in Norway now gives the German four professional victories. After his time trial win at the Memorial Davide Fardelli (1.2) 2008, he last year won two stages of the Fleche du Sud (2.2).
Even if Marcel Kittel’s season didn’t go as well as expected, he is without doubt a huge talent that for sure will make the jump to the Pro ranks and will likely perform very well there. He chose Skil as his Team. There he will meet, after Robert Wagner left, Simon Geschke and the other German new arrivals Roger Kluge and Johannes Fröhlinger. In sprints Marcel Kittel is not expected to show much in 2011, even if he was one of the fastest U23 riders, because Skil is very strong in this department. But he will prove himself to be a strong lead-out man. Also he will be one of the team’s top three time trialists, so it can be expected that on occasion, Kittel will get the chance to be his team’s captain in his first Pro season.
Until then his focus still lies on the Under 23 level and at the World Championships in the Time Trial the German is one of the hot favourites. Taylor Phinney may be out of reach, but behind him there will be a tough fight for places, with Marcel Kittel amongst the contenders for it.
nominated by ogkempf, chreezer & Offi, written by ogkempf, translated by bugno