German sprinter Marcel Kittel has warned sprinting superstar Mark Cavendish that his Giant-Shimano team will be fully prepared to deny the Manx Missile an emotional Tour de France stage victory into Harrogate this summer.
The 101st Tour de France begins in Yorkshire on July 5 with a mouthwatering sprinter’s stage into the spa town on stage one.
It is the perfect setting for multiple stage winner Cavendish to finally get his arms into the yellow jersey in the town where his mother grew up.
But Kittel, the sprinter who stole his thunder in last year’s race with four wins including on the first and final stages, is eyeing another upset.
Together with five other members of his Giant-Shimano team, Kittel is on a reconnaisance mission in the White Rose county.
They rode into Harrogate on Monday and are doing so again today, having spent Tuesday cycling the final 100 kilometres of stage two from Hebden Bridge into Sheffield.
“Cav has a special motivation being his home country. But we accept the challenge,” said Kittel, who has been joined on his Yorkshire reconnoitre by fellow sprinter John Degenkolb and his lead-out man Koen de Kort.
“Stage one is a very big goal and a chance for our team to get into the yellow jersey.
“I don’t want to come to the Tour in July and leave with the regret that we didn’t get the jersey because we didn’t plan for it.”
Warning: Flash photography in video.