Riding into the first rest day at the Tour de France with a stage win and a yellow and green jersey is already mission accomplished for Marcel Kittel and his Argos-Shimano squad but having reached such heights so early in the race has left the German gunning for more as the race hits the flats on Tuesday.
Last year Kittel was unable to make it past Stage 5 in his debut Tour despite entering his second grand tour with high expectations. This year however, the 6"2' sprinter has made his way through the first week relatively unscathed. A taste of the high mountains through the Pyrenees came and went without too much stress, according to the 25-year-old and the team's trainer Adriaan Helmantel.
"Marcel is really impressive on the climbs; he doesn't have any problems," said Helmantel while Kittel added "Yesterday I felt really good in the mountains and survived those very easily."
During the rest day riders from Argos-Shimano were busy with the team's trainer Helmantel and team manager Iwan Spekenbrink analyzing sprints and power files from the first nine stages. Most of the riders, including Kittel have been recovering well and are ready to combat the next six days of racing - before the second day off.
"Today all our experts were also in the hotel and we had a meeting with them to analyze the sprints of the last week. We saw some improvements, so it should be possible to do something next week. I feel good and am really looking forward to sprinting again," said Kittel on his team site.
Kittel is arguably enjoying his best season to date with the third-year professional notching up 11 wins so far this year but with such success comes the desire for more. Kittel will have three opportunities over the coming four days and is ready to cross the line with hands aloft again.
"In the coming weeks we will have some chances, and if everything falls into place again we should be ready to rumble. I've really enjoyed sprinting on the highest level in this Tour. We came to the Tour to win a stage, but now we are eager to win another.
"The hills and mountains are okay, but I came here to battle with the other sprinters and to show some speed, so it is nice that we can continue that again."