After being the sprinter of reference in recent years, Marcel Kittel was a no-show in 2015. He started only a handful of races and finished fewer. A single stage win at the Tour of Poland was his standout result.
What gives? All sorts of rumors swirled. The official word was an unspecified virus. Kittel did say that whatever his problems had been, he had overcome them and he was capable of performing in the Tour. His Giant-Alpecin team disagreed and left the man who had worn yellow at the past two Tours off its nine-man roster.
Despite his struggles, Kittel secured a two-year contract with Belgian superteam Etixx-Quick-Step at the end of the season. Here’s hoping a fresh start sees him back at the sharp end of races in 2016.