"The Kaisöör" without agony

For ten years, he threw himself into chaotic arrivals, he won 14 stages of the circuit. That's enough, thinks Marcel Kittel, whom the French have christened "The Kaisööör".

A month ago, Marcel Kittel was still invited to the Tour de France for a few days and you saw him as you have not seen for a while: smiling, relaxed. Kittel appeared as the ARD microphone expert. He seemed to be someone who yearned for something and who had already distanced himself from this traveling circus, which is the turn at the moment. As if he, who had recently paused in his sport, had already guessed that he would not return to this activity, at least as a professional cyclist. And that he was very satisfied with it.

The message that Marcel Kittel from Erfurt gave birth to has so far been unadorned, but rather in vibrato of delicate timpani. "I lost all motivation to continue to torture myself on the bike," he told the magazine
mirror At this stage, his existence as a professional with now 31 years old is finally extinct. Thus ended one of the most successful cycling careers in the world, reminding us that the end of an era is approaching. Kittel was also the main actor of a new German wave in cycling, with André Greipel, John Degenkolb and Tony Martin; It's a wave that loses power for a long time. But also the one that already has an effect.

Farewell with 31 years: Marcel Kittel at the 2017 Tour, where he won five stages for the Quickstep team.

(Photo: Peter Dejong / AP)

Kittel had grown up in cycling when he had just come out of the wreckage of the Armstrong-Ullrich era, infiltrated by doping, and the scene could not do better than this young blond boy. He won in 2011 as a neo-pro, already 17 races for his Dutch team, but he's also understood as a public relations officer distinguishing himself from old warriors with refreshing clarity. He was embarrassed by the Contadors and the Armstrongs, he did not fall into the clamor of anyone who thought his sport was too much criticized, he also openly dealt with a case at Orfurt Olympiastützpunkt, where he was 18 – and then authorized – Had undergone a blood treatment.

Between 2013 and 2017, his skills shone brightly. When Kittel hit the wind at the same time during the mass sprint with 1.88 meters and 85 kilos, it was hard to beat. He has won 19 stages in all major country tours, 14 in the full tour and therefore more than any other German. The French sometimes called their tour of the "Tour of Germany", they called "The Kaisööör". However, two years ago, when the Kaiser won five stages of the tour, he did not feel too well defined about his sport. Probably because he had never dreamed of a professional career, as he said, but that one day, "just tried" he had done.

Petacchi locked

The World Cycling Federation (UCI) has locked former sprinter Alessandro Petacchi for two years. The 45-year-old Italian broke the anti-doping rules in 2012 and 2013, the UCI said. The World Association pronounced the sanction "on the basis of information received from the Austrian law enforcement authorities", which were determined during the "Aderlass operation". Petacchi, who rejects the allegations, should have been a suspected doping network customer with a doctor from Erfurt, at least 20 other athletes from eight countries and five sports. Petacchi, who won six stages of the Tour de France, among others, was suspended in 2008 after a positive test for a cure for asthma for ten months. dpa

"The body and the mind always play together," said its director, Jörg Werner, in May; Kittel had broken his contract with Katyusha-Alpecin. And with Kittel, according to the manager, the mind affects performance more than others. He had plunged into a chaotic sprint finish at speed 70 for ten years, leaving behind traces, not just physical ones. The difficult period with Katyusha then accelerated the alienation of his sport: the Swiss-Russian team had engaged Kittel in 2017 as a richly flagellated figurehead, with an annual salary of more than one million dollars. Euros, but Kittel was difficult at first. "I did not feel confidence, just pressure, pressure, pressure," he says now. For someone who always needed a free head to bounce back quickly, it had to be like a poison that gradually drained him. The time spent with Katyusha, says Kittel, had shown him a lot: on the one hand, the exhaustion of athletes under the burden of enormous expectations in the spiral of drug fraud could come; It was also the operation "Aderlass" around a doping network in his hometown of Erfurt. On the other hand, he could not bear the torments of his sport, thousands of kilometers in the race and training. Especially since he became a father in November.

Kittel will now study economics, moderating the tour of Germany, which kicks off next week as a ZDF expert and will meet some of his longtime colleagues. They are also beginning to browse the fall of their career, Andre Greipel on the Arcea side team, John Degenkolb soon on the Belgians of Lotto-Soudal, Tony Martin in the role of a Noble Jumbo-Visma (collapsed collectively during the Vuelta weekend time-trial), However, the next German wave has already made its appearance: the sprinter Pascal Ackermann, 25, the classic hunter Nils Politt, 25, and the fourth round Emanuel Buchmann and the talents of the first round Max Schachmann and Lennard Kämna, dressed in the German Borana HANSGROHE Team. It is also a trend of which Kittel is not totally innocent.