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Marcel Kittel offered career lifeline by Jumbo-Visma, reports suggest

Marcel Kittel interview
Joe Robinson
3 Jun 2019

German sprinter is currently taking a break from professional cycling

Marcel Kittel could be offered a career lifeline as reports suggest Jumbo-Visma will offer the German sprinter a contract. The 14-time Tour de France stage winner is currently taking a break from professional cycling after breaking contract with Katusha-Alpecin.

At the time, Kittel cited an inability to 'train and race at the highest level' for the decision and that he would take some time to consider his future plans.

The 31-year-old struggled to perform after his move from Quick-Step in 2017, taking only two victories in 18 months. Reports suggested that Kittel and his Katusha-Alpecin team then met for 'crisis talks' as he continued to struggle early into the 2019 season.

The mutual decision to terminate Kittel's contract was made with the rider saying at the time: 'I have had the feeling of being exhausted. For this reason, I have decided to take a break and take time for myself, think about my goals and make a plan for my future.'

Kittel is yet to come a decision regarding his future, however Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf has reported that Jumbo-Visma team manager Merijn Zeeman is willing to sign the sprinter if he decides to return to cycling.

Zeeman's interest in Kittel stems from their time together at the Skil-Shimano team from 2011 to 2012 when Zeeman helped develop Kittel from a time-trial specialist into a sprinter.

It was during this period that Kittel took his first sprint victories of note with Stage 7 of the 2011 Vuelta a Espana and the one-day Scheldeprijs race in 2012.

Joining Jumbo-Visma would also see Kittel reconnect with compatriot and close friend Tony Martin.

If Kittel was to join Jumbo-Visma, he would likely be forced into rebuilding his reputation as a team leader considering the firepower of the Dutch team.

The likes of Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk have developed the team into a genuine General Classification team that can target Grand Tours while Dylan Groenewegen has positioned himself as one of the world's fastest sprinters.