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Although Marcel Kittel has said that transparency is needed in order to ensure that German television steps up its coverage of the sport of cycling, the Giant-Shimano sprinter has explained his reasons against releasing particulars of his power output.
Kittel took stages two and three of the Giro d’Italia and said in the post race press conference that he didn’t intend on sharing his data. He said that doing so would hand an advantage to his rivals, enabling them to tailor their racing style to try to ensure he doesn’t win.
“I don’t know anything about the data from today. If I would know, I would still keep it to myself,” he said, in response to a question about what numbers he hit when he came from a long way back to take the sprint into Dublin.
“Of course I know my data [in general], also the power output. We have got a team within our team which is responsible for analysing training and also analysing the race power output.
“It is a big science and I would like to compare it to motorsports. For example, we are working really hard and you can really see a lot of improvements and also moments where you do not have the best shape in the season.
“For me, the reason why I would like to keep it for myself is I think when someone knows my threshold, when someone knows my power output, it is possible to create a strategy around it. When teams know how many watts I can push uphill, they can maybe ride two kilometres per hour faster and drop me. That is why I try to keep that to myself.”
Kittel is one of the top sprinters in the sport, having won stages in each of the Grand Tours and taken four wins in last year’s Tour de France. Performances by him, team-mate John Degenkolb, Andre Greipel and others have been watched by many viewers around the world, but for those in Germany who wish to see the sport, options are limited.
The situation is a result of the doping scandals of the past, with the mainstream German channels walking away after debacles such as Operacion Puerto, the Michael Rasmussen and Floyd Landis cases and other such matters.
Kittel said that the situation was a disappointing one. “Of course it is a bit of a sad thing that the media attention is not as big as in other countries,” he stated, “but I think that as young German riders we are working hard on it to get those people back into our sport and to also bring interest back.
“I am 100 percent sure that there are a lot of people sitting at home in front of the television who are still interested in cycling, despite all the doping stories. We are trying to tell them that we would like to show there is a different approach to our sport.
“I think they are realising it at the moment. It is not so easy to convince the television [companies] but I am sure if we keep on working like we do now, they will come back.”
Kittel pointed out that races such as the Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt and the Vattenfall Cyclassics are screened by some stations and enjoy a very big audience. “It is really not true if people say there is no interest.
“I think it is also not really my job to make them come back. All I can do is win races and try to keep on telling them how we do it and to tell them that we want to be transparent.”
In the video above Kittel speaks about these topics and also details the massive effort he made to win Sunday’s stage three sprint, talks about his improvement and what he does to try to continue growing stronger, the weight of expectation he feels and also explains what will decide if he remains in the Giro until the end or not.