Skil-Shimano’s Kittel wins Tour of Poland opener
Marcel Kittel wins stage 1 of the 2011 Tour of Poland in Warsaw. Photo: Graham Watson | www.grahamwatson.com Marcel Kittel (Skil-Shimano) won the opening stage and took the first leader’s jersey of the 2011 Tour of Poland on Sunday, outsprinting BMC’s Alexander Kristoff and Quick Step’s Francesco Chicchi. Kittel,…
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Marcel Kittel (Skil-Shimano) won the opening stage and took the first leader’s jersey of the 2011 Tour of Poland on Sunday, outsprinting BMC’s Alexander Kristoff and Quick Step’s Francesco Chicchi.
Kittel, 23, is on a good year, having won a stage and the overall at the Delta Tour Zeeland, as well as four stages at the Four Jours de Dunkerque and a stage at the Tour de Langkawi.
The 101.5km opening stage finished in Warsaw.
Kittel called it an important victory, his first in a WorldTour event, but wouldn’t say whether he would be contesting for the points jersey or the overall.
“It’s true that I have had a good season and I’m in good shape,” he said. “But the race ends with a tough stage in the mountains.”
“It’s a nice feeling to go in wearing the leader’s jersey, and certainly we will defend it as long as possible. But it will be extremely difficult.”
Second-placed Kristoff said he did not have the legs to come around Kittel at the end.
“(Teammate) Danilo Wyss did a super job for me,” Kristoff said. “I was perfectly positioned, but my legs were not 100 percent at the end so I didn’t make it around Kittel. But this is a good start.”
Kristoff, the Norwegian national road champion, said stage 2 could favor him as well.
“I remember it from last year,” Kristoff said. “It’s the same lap at the end so I know the sprint well and will try again tomorrow.”
The 162km stage takes riders from Czestochowa to Dabrowa Gornicza in southern Poland.
- 1. Marcel Kittel, (GER) Skil-Shimano, 101.5km in 2:07:26
- 2. Alexander Kristoff, (NOR) BMC Racing Team, same time
- 3. Francesco Chicchi, (ITA) Quick Step, s.t.
- 4. Heinrich Haussler, (AUS) Garmin-Cervélo, s.t.
- 5. Michele Merlo, (ITA) De Rosa-Ceramica Flaminia, s.t.