Who is fastest? Mark Cavendish or Marcel Kittel? It’s an intriguing question to consider with both riders notching up overnight wins.
7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:38 PM

This is a golden age of sprinting with riders like Andre Greipel, John Degenkolb, Elia Viviani and Nacer Bouhanni also in the mix, but really it's Cavendish and Kittel who are the talk of the town every time they race. Both are excitement machines.

His palmares is prolific and it may be that Cavendish will be the greatest sprinter of all time at the close of his career, but given time of his own, Kittel may some day match the "Manx Missle" with a long Wikipedia page of his own.

They are just two years apart, Cavendish is in his prime at almost 29 and Kittel just reaching his at 26. But this year there may be a full changing of the guard.

There were signs that that change was in the air last year at the Tour de France where Kittel won four stages, including the marquee on the Champs Elysees, and Cav two. It was shock and awe by the now Giant-Shimano rider and a lot of us were surprised to see Cavendish off the pace.

As riders they are physically different, Cavendish is a pocket rocket while Kittel is an imposing muscular figure, but one thing they share is versatility and speed, with both able to win coming off a leadout or from behind without any help at all.

We've seen both riders look completely out of a sprint only to appear as if from nowhere to take the win by a tyre's width.

We've seen both riders canter to victory after strong leadouts by their well-drilled teams. They are if nothing else, well matched protagonists.

Even looking for conclusions so far this year doesn't give us much to work with. So far this season the two riders are level pegging each other with a lot of racing to come before a big showdown at the Tour de France.

Cavendish has won seven stages so far this season, one at at the Volta ao Algarve, two at the Tirreno-Adriatico (if you include the Omega Pharma-QuickStep TTT win), four at the Tour of Turkey and today in the first stage of the Tour of California.

Kittel won the People's Choice Classic at the Tour Down Under, the Scheldeprijs, three at the inaugural Tour of Dubai and now two stages at the Giro d'Italia with the possibility of more to come.

Still, despite their well matched characteristics I'm giving Kittel the edge over Cavendish this season. Just.

Why? He seems more on his game at the moment, more focussed and his team has no general classification ambitions to worry about.

How about you? Cav or Kittel?