Marcel Kittel has revealed that he will not ride Milan-San Remo but will get a taste of cobbles at Paris-Roubaix and is set to go head to head with Mark Cavendish in the sprints at Tirreno-Adriatico.
The German showed was the fastest sprinter in the peloton in 2014, winning 13 races, including four stages at the Tour de France. He won the criterium before the Tour Down Under but did not win a stage in Australia and has yet to fight for victory in the Tour of Qatar after struggling in the echelons.
“For now things haven't worked out but I'm here to work and improve and I'm not looking for excuses,” Kittel told L'Equipe. “I don't have a problem in the wind and echelons but they're more fun when you have good legs.”
Kittel will not stay in the Gulf and ride next week's Tour of Oman but instead heads back to Europe for a block of training. He will then ride Tirreno-Adriatico in early March, while teammate and fellow sprinter and Classics contender John Degenkolb rides Paris-Nice.
Degenkolb will lead Giant-Alpecin at Milan-San Remo, with Kittel skipping the first monument of the season. The two will team up at Ghent-Wevelgem, Scheldeprijs and Paris-Roubaix.
Degenkolb is likely to be team leader in the cobbled Classics, while Kittel will be the team's leading sprinter at the Tour de France, probably his only Grand Tour of the season. It seems likely that Kittel will ride the Tour of California and then opt for a lighter programme in the second half of the season to prepare for the world road race championships in Richmond in the USA.
"John (Degenkolb) is our leader for that race," Kittel told Marca when asked about Milan-San Remo. "That is a decision of the team, I have to respect it."
"I'm sure I'll ride the Tour ride. The Giro and the Vuelta almost certainly not," Kittel added.