Kittel Withdraws from Giro d'Italia 2014
Together with Kittel himself, the Giant-Shimano team's medical staff decided earlier this morning that the double Giro d'Italia stage winner should not start in today's stage.
According to a team spokesman, the health of the team's riders remains the team's first priority.
"We made the decision here before the start of the fourth stage that Marcel (Kittel) would not continue the race," Team Giant-Shimano coach Marc Reef explained.
"Two days ago, after the third stage he already indicated that he did not feel 100 percent well. Yesterday morning he said that he felt better, but this morning at breakfast he had the same complaints and after a few check-ups with our team physician we identified that the fever had gotten more severe and so we made the decision together that he should not continue."
"It is a hard decision and a big loss for the team and a pity for Marcel. But we have to move on and with Luka (Mezgec) we have another strong sprinter on board. We will rebuild our positioning in the sprint train and keep challenging with Luka on the flats now."
Kittel was obviously very sorry to be forced to leave the Giro d'Italia grand tour at such an early point. "I am very disappointed about leaving the Giro after such a strong start in good condition, but I do not feel healthy and I am not in a position to start the race in this condition. I want to thank my team for their support these past few days and wish them the best of luck for the rest of the race," Kittel told RoadCycling.com.