Sprinters are generally considered to be highly-strung, adrenaline-fuelled athletes yet Marcel Kittel appeared to be as calm and controlled as his famous blonde quiff of hair on the eve of the Dubai Tour.
The German rider will make his season debut in the four-day event in the Middle East and his racing debut with Etixx-QuickStep, all after a difficult 2015 season hit by illness that lead to his divorce from Giant-Alpecin. It will be fascinating to see him go up against Mark Cavendish – who he replaced at Etixx-QuickStep, and if he has returned to the form that saw him win four stages in the 2013 and 2014 Tour de France and three stages in the inaugural Dubai Tour in 2014.
“I don’t personally feel that we have to perform here. It’s important that we stay calm, see how good we do. If it works immediately, it’ll be great. If it doesn’t, we will sit down and talk about it. That’s the process we are going through at the moment,” Kittel told Cyclingnews stoically.