Kittel returns to action at Tour de Romandie

Bob Jungels leads GC aspirations for Belgian team

Marcel Kittel heads to the Tour de Romandie with Etixx-QuickStep for one final tune up before starting the Giro d'Italia next month where the German will look to add to his his two stages from 2014.

Kittel's last race was Scheldeprijs where the 27-year-old beat Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) and André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) to his fourth career win and seventh win this season. Kittel has ridden Tour de Romandie on just one previous occasion, in 2014, with third place in the prologue his best result.

While the opportunities are limited for the sprinters at the WorldTour stage race, Etixx-Quick Step have Bob Jungels targeting GC after his third place at Tirreno-Adriatico earlier this season.

Sports director Davide Bramati explained the team is starting the race with modest expectations and will adjust its goals along with way.

"Many of our riders are coming here after a break, so we want to see what their level is and how they'll cope with things now that they are returning to competition. It's a tough race, with many climbs, and the weather could make it even more complicated. Of course, we will try to win a stage this week, but we'll take each thing at a time and see how the race unfolds," said Bramati. 

Kittel will be able to call upon Davide Martinelli and Fabio Sabatini for his leadout train while Maxime Bouet, Martin Velits, Carlos Verona and Lukasz Wisniowski will be key to Jungels' overall aspirations across the hilly Swiss terrain.

Etixx-Quick Step has enjoyed several stage wins at the race in the past few years with Tony Martin and Gianni Meersman although neither rider will take to the start line in 2016.

The Tour de Romandie starts Tuesday with a prologue in La Chaux-de-Fonds and concludes May 1 with a stage from Ollon to Genève.

Etixx - Quick-Step for Tour de Romandie: Maxime Bouet, Bob Jungels, Marcel Kittel, Davide Martinelli, Fabio Sabatini, Martin Velits, Carlos Verona and Lukasz Wisniowski.

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