A rumour Marcel Kittel would make a career debut at Milan-San Remo this season proved exactly that, but it’s a race the German should consider, according to new team staff.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
23 Mar 2016 - 11:53 AM  UPDATED 23 Mar 2016 - 12:11 PM

Etixx-QuickStep sports director Brian Holm has said it would be amiss for Kittel to not ever contest the Monument, which can, above all others, favour sprinters as Arnaud Demare (FDJ) showed on Saturday.

“I don’t know if he will but I think it would be a mistake if he didn’t,” Holm said.

“As a big champion, I think you have to win a Monument.”

The 27-year-old actually ruled out a start at this year’s La Primavera at the Dubai Tour last month, there arguing that the current course profile was too difficult for pure sprinters. Nonetheless, his season opening performance, specifically on the short but steep climb to Hatta Dam, which kept him in title contention, fuelled speculation of a bid.

“I’ve only done the Dubai Tour with him and he was pretty good on Hatta Dam. Of course, the Cipressa and Poggio are something else,” Holm said. “He plans with his trainer but if I could push him in some direction for sure [I would say] he should prepare himself.”

The eight-time Tour de France stage winner has made an early season statement with five victories, noted by rivals including Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), across the Dubai Tour and Volta ao Algarve.

The performances followed an illness marred 2015 campaign with former team Giant-Alpecin, which may have been taken into consideration planning early objectives.

Kittel’s measured approach to the Monument is in line with a pragmatic first impression he has made on Holm, who has famously worked with riders of the same ilk including Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) and Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal).

“Kittel, he is pretty much like Greipel and Tony Martin. He has that German mentality, the high discipline, not too noisy and he is really professional,” he said.

“He’s coming from a Dutch team [and] if you fit in a Dutch team you’re going to fit into a Belgium team too so that’s fine.”

Kittel may have missed Milan-San Remo but he is set to race in Italy, however, with the Giro d’Italia in May on the program.