Kittel seals unprecedented hat-trick in Poland
Tue, 02 Aug 19:07:00 2011
German Marcel Kittel made history by taking a third win in three stages from the start of the Tour of Poland as he triumphed in a bunch sprint in Katowice.
Skil Shimano rider Kittel pipped Frenchman Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil) and Dane Jonas Jorgensen (Saxo Bank) on the 135.7km†stage from Bedzin.
"I’m thrilled with this victory," said yellow jersey Kittel. "The stage was the hardest one of the three so far.
"The team was tired after the hard work they did the first two days, but they were great today, too. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for the faith they have in me - cycling is a team sport.
"It was a super-fast final sprint, my bike’s computer surpassed 78 km/h!"
Kittel is also the holder of the white & green points classification jersey.
"In the next stages I’m going to be especially careful to 'survive' the mountains and I’m going to try to help my team-mates whenever I can," he added.
"The points jersey? Let’s see how these next three days go and then we can talk about that."
After an initial run, the stage entered Katowice where the riders completed eight tours of an 11.2km loop.
Rodrigues Argueles (Katusha), Gianluca Maggiore (De Rosa-Flaminia), Daniel Sesma (Euskaltel Euskadi), Piotr Gawronski (Poland) and Lukasz Bodnar (CCC Polsat) attacked with 15km remaining, but were caught - with Bodnar the last to wield with 10km to go.
From there the peloton prepared for a bunch sprint.
"When I moved up to the pros, everyone thought I was a time triallist after the good results I obtained in this specialty among the U23s," added Kittel, who is 23 now.
"In my head, however, I felt like I could become a sprinter. When I joined Skil-Shimano [for this season] I started training a lot to work on intensity, with specific workouts for sprints.
"The work paid off. Now I feel more confident in the sprint and this also gives great motivation to me and all my team."
Kittel has now won 11 times this year.
Adrian Kurek†is second overall, 17 seconds off the pace.†Gianluca Maggiore is third, with Feillu† fourth.
The 176.9km fourth stage on Wednesday starts out from Oswiecim - the 'City of Peace' near the Auschwitz concentration camp - and arrives in Cieszyn, with a brief section in the Czech Republic.