German Marcel Kittel is moving on from a hellish week that saw the star sprinter implicated in a blood doping investigation by German television broadcaster ARD - by racing his bike. Kittel started his season in the Etoile de Bessèges in France yesterday, and picked up a narrow second behind Nacer Bouhanni.
Happy to have turned a page, Kittel was just "glad to be on the road again together with my boys".
"I felt okay today but we have to improve our work in the final," said Kittel on twitter. "I was on position 15 at 600 metres to go [but it didn't quite work out]. But anyway thanks to my team for their work and support here in France! It's great to have such people around me!"
On Sunday the German broadcaster ARD aired a show that shed light on Dr. Andreas Franke, who worked at an Olympic training site in Erfurt. The show named Kittel as a patient of the doctor and two current teammates later admitted that they attended the clinic.
Kittel has been absolved of any wrongdoing but came under intense scrutiny from the German and world media in the wake of the report.
He told Cyclingnews on Monday evening that "it has been unbelievably hard and I'm just happy I have my people around me".
Etoile de Bessèges continues tomorrow with a 149 kilometre stage from Nîmes to Saint-Ambroix.