Kittel confirms retirement from professional cycling

By Sports Desk August 23, 2019

Marcel Kittel has retired from professional cycling at the age of 31.

German sprinter Kittel left Team Katusha Alpecin in May to take a break from cycling, citing exhaustion as his reason.

The 19-time Grand Tour stage winner has now confirmed he will not be returning to the sport, insisting he no longer wishes to go through the pain required to compete at the top level.

In a post on his official website, Kittel, who is expecting to become a father in November, said: "This decision process has not been a quick one, but has taken place over a longer time.

"During my nearly 20-year sports career there have been not only incredible successes but also difficult times.

"I have always been one to openly question and reflect when such things happen, so that I can learn and become better. That, together with the people around me, has made me the successful athlete that I now am, but this method has also taught to leave my old ways and learn new ones.

"I know there is much more than just sport, for example my own future family.

"Recently the thought on this future without cycling has grown, as has the awareness of the sacrifices that such a beautiful but also very difficult sport like cycling brings with it.

"The biggest question of the last few months was: Can I and do I want to continue to make the sacrifices needed to be a world-class athlete? And my answer is no, I do not want that anymore, because I have always found the limitations on a top athlete as an increasing loss of quality of life.

"That is why I am very happy and proud that at this point in my life I can make the decision to follow my heart in a new direction."

Kittel enjoyed the last of his 14 Tour de France stage victories in 2017 and also has four stage victories at the Giro d'Italia and one in the Vuelta a Espana.

Related items

  • Teenage rider Maas unlikely to walk again after Piccolo Lombardia crash Teenage rider Maas unlikely to walk again after Piccolo Lombardia crash

    Team Sunweb's teenage rider Edo Maas is unlikely to walk again after breaking his back following a collision with a car this month.

    The 19-year-old Dutchman was rushed to hospital in Milan after suffering severe injuries in an accident on the descent of the Madonna del Ghisallo during the Piccolo Lombardia.

    Maas underwent multiple operations this week but has lost the feeling in both of his legs.

    A statement from Maas' family said: "Edo is now fully conscious and has been awake for a couple of days, and responds well to family and visiting team-mates. The fractures to his back and the injuries on his face required multiple intensive surgeries over the last week, all of which were successful.

    "Edo is currently processing the diagnosis that the fracture in his back has led to paraplegia, a loss of nerve feeling in his legs. At this moment it remains unlikely that functionality in his legs will ever return, but fighting power and hope prevails.

    "At this stage no further information on Edo's condition is available. We ask to respect Edo and the family's privacy, as they process this difficult news. Another update will be provided when necessary."

  • Froome: Tour de France route is 'brutal' Froome: Tour de France route is 'brutal'

    Chris Froome has described next year's Tour de France route as "brutal" after organisers revealed details of the race on Tuesday.

    With five mountain ranges and only one time trial - on the penultimate stage - the course would seem to suit climbers such as French riders Thibaut Pinot and Julian Alaphilippe, as well as Egan Bernal, Froome's Team INEOS colleague and the reigning champion.

    Froome, who missed the 2019 Tour having suffered fractures to his femur, elbow and ribs in June, noted how tough the 21-stage course was for 2020 while admitting it should suit most of the challengers for the yellow jersey.

    "It's a brutal, brutal course, but good," said four-time Tour de France champion Froome.

    "I think it's going to be a really explosive race and very much in favour of the [best climbers of] mountains. But I think that's great, it gives a lot of opportunities for the general classification to be played out.

    "That's what everyone wants to see, everyone wants to see a big battle between the rivals.

    "For the riders as well, I think it's great because it gives a lot of opportunities to try to make the race and to try to win."

    In Froome's absence last year, defending champion Geraint Thomas was expected to be INEOS' lead rider, but it was Bernal who surprisingly emerged to claim a first title.

    The team could have three Tour champions on the line at the Grand Depart in Nice next June, yet Froome is more concerned with focusing on his fitness before considering his leadership credentials.

    "We've got an amazing line-up, an amazing roster of riders to select from, but nothing is decided yet," Froome said.

    "I have obviously to get myself back to that level before even discussing leadership or anything like that.

    "At least for now everything is going in the right direction, I'm optimistic."

  • Mountains dominate 2020 Tour de France route Mountains dominate 2020 Tour de France route

    Cycling's top climbers appeared to receive a major lift after a mountainous route for the 2020 Tour de France was revealed on Tuesday.

    Riders will be go through the five mountain ranges of the Alps, Pyrenees, Vosges, Jura and Massif Central after the Grand Depart in Nice on June 27.

    They will visit three of France's mountain ranges in the first eight days and will be climbing from as early as day two, with the only time trial coming on the last competitive stage from Lure to La Planche des Belles Filles before the ceremonial ride into Paris.

    There will be no return to the Alpe d'Huez or Mont Ventoux, but the Col de la Madeleine and the Grand Colombier will be tackled.

    The route should suit Thibaut Pinot and Julian Alaphilippe when they attempt to end a long wait for a French rider to win the most prestigious Grand Tour race, which was won by Egan Bernal this year.

    Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said: "There are 29 mountains, it will be physically challenging throughout.

    "Even the so-called flat stages will be very tough for the pure sprinters. There are traps everywhere along the route."

     

    Route for the 2020 Tour de France

    June 27 - Stage 1: Nice - Nice (156km)

    June 28 - Stage 2: Nice - Nice (187km)

    June 29 - Stage 3: Nice - Sisteron (198km)

    June 30 - Stage 4: Sisteron - Orcieres-Merlette (157km)

    July 1 - Stage 5: Gap - Privas (183km)

    July 2 - Stage 6: Le Teil - Mont Aigoual (191km)

    July 3 - Stage 7: Millau - Lavaur (168km)

    July 4 - Stage 8: Cazeres-sur-Garonne - Loudenvielle (140km)

    July 5 - Stage 9: Pau - Laruns (154km)

    July 6 - Rest day in Charente-Maritime

    July 7 - Stage 10: Ile d'Oleron - Ile de Re (170km)

    July 8 - Stage 11: Chatelaillon-Plage - Poitiers (167km)

    July 9 - Stage 12: Chauvigny - Sarran (218km)

    July 10 - Stage 13: Chatel-Guyon - Puy Mary (191km)

    July 11 - Stage 14: Clermont-Ferrand - Lyon (197km)

    July 12 - Stage 15: Lyon - Grand Colombier (175km)

    July 13 - Rest day in Isere

    July 14 - Stage 16: La Tour-du-Pin - Villard-de-Lans (164km)

    July 15 - Stage 17: Grenoble - Meribel (168km)

    July 16 - Stage 18: Meribel - La Roche-sur-Foron (168km)

    July 17 - Stage 19: Bourg-en-Bresse - Champagnole (160km)

    July 18 - Stage 20: Lure - La Planche des Belles Filles (36km individual time trial)

    July 19 - Stage 21: Mantes-la-Jolie - Paris (122km)

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.