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Holm says racing while ill 'destroyed' Kittel

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Marcel Kittel has won the last two criteriums that open the Tour Down Under

Marcel Kittel has won the last two criteriums that open the Tour Down Under
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Former pro Brian Holm is currently a directeur sportif for Omega Pharma-QuickStep

Former pro Brian Holm is currently a directeur sportif for Omega Pharma-QuickStep
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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A dapper Marcel Kittel at the UCI Cycling Gala in Abu Dhabi.

A dapper Marcel Kittel at the UCI Cycling Gala in Abu Dhabi.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marcel Kittel and Peter Sagan

Marcel Kittel and Peter Sagan
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin) pleased with his stage 1 victory in Poland

Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin) pleased with his stage 1 victory in Poland
(Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)

Etixx-QuickStep director Brian Holm told a Danish website this week that he is looking forward to working with Marcel Kittel and hopes to help the German sprinter return to the top of his game after a 2015 season plagued with illness and injury.

Kittel won just a single UCI race in 2015 on the opening day of the Tour of Poland. An early season virus followed by a slow recovery kept him out of the Tour de France. Kittel and Giant-Alpecin mutually parted ways earlier this month, paving the way for Etixx to pick up the sprinter with the hope that he can fill the hole left by Mark Cavendish’s departure.

Holm said he’ll be looking to bring back the 'old Kittel.'

"That will be the task," Holm told feltet.dk. "And we will try to make a race program so that he comes good in time again. If he is not on top, he should not race. We will take care of him.

"Kittel should not have raced when he was ill, and it destroyed him," Holm said. "If he comes back after his virus, it will be exciting."

Holm is confident Kittel will return to his previous form and that he will once again win big races.

"He has something that others do not have," said the Etixx-QuickStep director. "He is a winner and he has an extra gear, so there are not many who can follow him."

Holm also indicated that Kittel will have the team's support at the Tour de France if he is back in top form next July.

"With his history of Tour stage wins when he is on top, I can't see any reason not to race for him," Holm said.