Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) has signalled the 2013 Tour de France as his biggest objective for the coming season. The German sprinter made his Tour debut in 2012 but was forced to abandon during the opening week after being struck with illness. It was bitter blow for the Scheldeprijs winner who came into the Tour as arguably one of the most in-form sprinters.
"The big goal will be the Tour again because I think there are number of chances for the sprinters. I'll have a similar build up to the Tour as I did this year too," Kittel told Cyclingnews.
"At the moment the Tour is a long way off but when I think about it, it will probably feel like doing my first Tour. This year I was racing like a zombie and just wasn't myself. Hopefully it will be totally different next year."
"It was a hard experience missing out but there's nothing I can change about that now, so all I can do is focus on next year."
Kittel watched during the Vuelta as his teammate John Degenkolb won five sprint stages and in doing so staked a serious claim for a Tour de France spot in 2013. Kittel believes that the pair can work together in the Tour next year, and will be able to devise a plan that will maximise the team's chances of winning.
"We've shown that we can work for each other and there's not a problem. For the Tour it would be the same. We'll have a clear plan on which stages suit him and me and we'll start with that plan. That's our strength to win as a team and I totally trust that."
The rest of Kittel's season has yet to be determined. He has ruled out competing in the Giro, citing the belief that he's not ready to complete two grand tours in a single season but marks the Classics and early sprint showdowns at the Tour Down Under.
"If we get a WorldTour licence then I should be at the Tour Down Under. I'd like to go there because there are stages for the sprinter but nothing has been confirmed yet with the licence. If that's not the case we'll look it again with maybe Qatar and Oman, but I would like to concentrate on the sprints right from the start of the season."