Last week Marcel Kittel announced his full retirement from professional cycling, after stepping out of his contract at Katusha Alpecin earlier this year. The German powerhouse sprinter, who won 14 stages at the Tour de France, as well as taking a stage at the Amgen Tour of California in 2017, posted a message on his social media explaining the decision.
“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 any more.”
“At this point I would like to thank all the people who have supported me in my career: my former teammates, my trainers, my friends, and my family, but above all my fans for the incredible support in the last few years.”
Marcel was a big favorite among the California fans, always taking time to interact with the people who came out to show their support for the riders – and we will be sad not to see him back here in a racing jersey again.
Former professional and now GCN presenter, Daniel Lloyd, said of Kittel’s retirement:
“I've got huge respect for Marcel Kittel's decision. The easier one would have been to continue getting a fat paycheck. It highlights how tough the sport is, both mentally and physically. What a career, too. When he was at his best, he was unbeatable.”
While back in May, when Kittel first stepped away from cycling, his old rival Mark Cavendish had this to say.
“For many years of my career I felt unbeatable, invincible. One rider came on to the scene that changed that. A mountain of pure muscle and blonde hair. That rider is Marcel Kittel."
“Marcel, I want to say thank you for a rivalry that lifted my game, but above all gave an excitement to cycling fans. As competitors, we all try to have an edge on each other. But as humans, we should only wish for peace and happiness for each other. From my heart, I wish you all the best for your next chapter.”
The Amgen Tour of California thanks Marcel Kittel for his dedication to the sport and wishes nothing but the best as he moves forward to the next chapter of his life.
Read Marcel’s full message here.
Article by Tom Owen.