Marcel Kittel has announced the end of his career as a professional cyclist. After bringing his 2019 season to a halt after just one win in the early season, Kittel will not be returning to the professional peloton.
On 10th April Marcel Kittel lined up at Scheldeprijs, a race he’d previously won 5 times. He finished 99th, a far cry from expectations, and that along with a number of results at Paris-Nice and the UAE Tour that had not been up to his usual standard were among the reasons for the German powerhouse sprinter taking a break from his season early. Since then Kittel has taken the decision to retire.
Taking to social media to make the announcement, Kittel said, “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 to any more, because I have always found the limitations on a top athlete as an increasing loss to quality of life.”
Kittel began racing on the Continental scene with Thüringer Energie Team before gradually progressing to World Tour level. After he showed potential in 2011 and 2012, Kittel’s class came into its own in 2013 when he won the first four of his 14 Tour de France stage wins. He also was the rider who laid claim to finally dethroning Mark Cavendish from the Manxman’s dominance of the Champs-Elysees.
Throughout Kittel’s career he picked up over 100 victories, won stages in all three grand tours – 14x Tour de France stages, 4x Giro d’Italia stages and 1 at the Vuelta a Espana – and won Scheldeprijs every year between 2012 and 2017 apart from the 2015 race.
We will miss Marcel Kittel in the professional peloton, a rider who together with Andre Greipel and Mark Cavendish was part of a dynasty of great sprinters who together dominated sprints all around the world.
We wish Marcel all the best in his future endeavours.