Kittel zet op 31-jarige leeftijd een punt achter zijn wielercarrière

Marcel Kittel zet met onmiddellijke ingang een punt achter zijn carrière, zo maakte de 31-jarige Duitser vrijdag bekend in een interview met Der Spiegel. Sinds begin mei zat Kittel al zonder team, nadat hij op eigen verzoek zijn contract liet ontbinden bij Katusha-Alpecin.

In de negen jaar durende carrière op het hoogste niveau won Kittel 89 keer. Hij won veertien keer in de Tour de France en is daarmee de succesvolste Duitser wat betreft etappezeges in de Ronde van Frankrijk. Daarnaast mocht hij twee keer de gele trui aantrekken. In de Giro d'Italia won hij vier al was dat steeds buiten Italië. In zijn eerste jaar als prof boekte de 31-jarige Duitser ook een ritzege in de Vuelta a España. Daarna reed Kittel nooit meer de Ronde van Spanje.

Naast ritzeges in de grote rondes won hij maar liefst vijf keer de Scheldeprijs, ook wel het officieuze wereldkampioenschap voor sprinters genoemd.

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Dear friends, fans and companions, I would like to tell you all today that I am ending my career as a pro cyclist. I have thought long and hard about this decision and discussed it with my closest friends and my family. This decision process has not been a quick one, but has taken place over a longer time: During my nearly 20 year sports career there have been not only incredible successes but also difficult times. I have always been one to openly question and reflect when such things happen, so that I can learn and become better. That, together with the people around me, has made me the successful athlete that I now am, but this method has also taught to leave my old ways and learn new ones. I know that there is much more than just sport, for example my own future family. Recently the thought on this future without cycling has grown, as has the awareness of the sacrifices that such a beautiful but also very difficult sport like cycling brings with it. The biggest question of the last few months was: Can I and do I want to continue to make the sacrifices needed to be a world-class athlete? And my answer is: No, I do not want that any more, because I have always found the limitations on a top athlete as an increasing loss of quality of life. That is why I have a very happy and proud that at this point in my life I can make the decision to follow my heart in a new direction. At this point I would like to thank all the people who have supported me in my career: my former teammates, my trainers, my friends, and my family, but above all my fans for the incredible support in the last few years. I look forward to the future with much anticipation. Yours, Marcel

Een bericht gedeeld door Marcel Kittel (@marcelkittel) op23 Aug 2019 om 7:47 (PDT)