Marcel Kittel made a winning start to his Etixx-Quick Step career earlier this month with two stages and overall victory at the Dubai Tour. The German sprinter confirmed he has placed his troubled illness interrupted 2015 season behind him with victory over André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) at the Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta in Albufeira.
Kittel's win was Etixx-Quick Step's tenth win of the season following on from fellow new-signing Bob Jungel's stage 1 win at the Tour of Oman.
"It wasn’t an easy day, and we were aware of that, but we took it as a challenge, because we wanted to prove that we can win also on such a finish," Kittel said in a release from the team. "We stayed calm, came at the front before the last roundabout, and it all worked well in the end."
Stage 1 victory also sees the 27-year-old claim the first leader's jersey of the race, along with the green points jersey, repeating his feats in Dubai.
"It's a good start for us here in Portugal. As a matter of fact, the overall picture makes us happy and proud, because we have enjoyed an excellent start to the season, and I am very grateful for that," Kittel added.
The win was the 14th time in Kittel's career that he won the opening stage of a race and he explained that having met his goals for the Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta he will now be tranquillo for the remainder of the week as he continues to build for his upcoming season goals.
"My goal in Algarve was to take a stage and I did it against a quality field, which is very important for my confidence. Now, the team will be more relaxed, will take things day by day and we’ll see if we will get another shot at a win," he added.
Stage 2 of the Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta takes the peloton from Lagoa to Alto da Fóia (Monchique), featuring the 7.5km Alto da Foia climb at an average of 5.5 per cent which is set to reveal the overall contenders for the week with Kittel likely to be handing his yellow leader's jersey to another rider at the conclusion of the day.