Marcel Kittel Sprints to Victory in Garmin Velothon Berlin
Earlier this afternoon Team Argos-Shimano's German sprinter Marcel Kittel powered to victory in a fiercely contested sprint to the finish line on Strasse des 17. Juni near Brandenburger Tor in Berlin, Germany.
The 184.6 kilometer route was completed with almost perfect German precision as Kittel reached the finish line four hours and 5 seconds after having started the race at Brandenburger Tor. IAM Cycling's Matteo Pelucchi finished 2nd. German sprinter and defending champion André Greipel of Team Lotto-Belisol crossed the line in 3rd position with the Berlin Victory Column pointing toward the cloudless sky 200 meters further down the street.
The first 70 kilometers were contested in compact fashion before a five-man breakaway formed consisting of riders from smaller teams, closely watched by Team Argos-Shimano, Lotto-Belisol and Garmin-Sharp who kept the breakaway group on a short leash.
In the final laps the breakaway group was reeled back in and an estimated 500,000 spectators on the streets of Berlin watched the sprinter teams set up the infamous sprinter trains, which are formed to deliver the sprinters in perfect position and speed before they unleash their amazing powers and dominant egos in the final meters of the race.
"With 2 kilometers to go we were in good position with our sprint train on the front. The boys did a perfect job to bring me to the right position, sitting on Tom Veelers' wheel and I timed my sprint just right," race winner Kittel told RoadCycling.com after being celebrated on the podium in Berlin.
"I am really happy to win this race, especially as it was in Germany. My last race was Picardie and after that I went to the altitude training camp so to win straight off at my first race back feels good."
Kittel also won the Velothon Berlin in 2011 and was the main favorite to take the victory again today.
"It was a great feeling to win this race back in 2011, especially when taking the amazing and remarkable Berlin scenery into account. With this year's strong peloton in mind today's victory is even bigger for me."
Defending champion Greipel was disappointed with his third place finish, but thanked his team for their perfect work in today's race.
"As sprinter you obviously always want to ride to victory in all races made for sprinters instead of failing. That I didn't win today is my own mistake because my teammates did everything perfect for me. Fortunately, however, there are still some target races for me this season in which I can prove my worth."
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