After the disaster of 2015 which resulted in the premature departure of Kittel from Giant Alpecin the super sprinter triumphed immediately by winning in a supreme long sprint the first stage of the Tour of Dubai. Mark Cavendish finished second well away from the winner. The German sprinter showed him delighted with his first win for his new team in his first race.
Last year Kittels’ contract ended at Giant Alpecin after a lost year due to a flu-like infection contracted during the first races in Australia and in Dubai. Despite his illness his team, read manager Spekenbrink, forced to start anyway. It was Spekenbrink himself who put pressure on his rider because Kittel is one of the big names in the peloton and it would be indigestible for the organization in Dubai when Kittel would decide not to start. Spekenbrink wanted to make a good turn to Preud’homme, after all, he is the director of the ASO and the ASO is the owner of the Tour de France and also the owner of the Tour of Dubai where the big money is. So ASO is also responsible for the composition of the participants. The oil sheiks probably have no understanding of cycling but as sponsors they obviously do not agree with a field of the second garniture.
Briefly Kittel’s health was completely secondary to various business interests. Hence, the manager of Kittel’s new team Etixx Quick Step, Patric Lefevre called Spekenbrink a ‘ash hole licker’. By which he meant the hole of Preudhomme. Everyone knows the rest of the story. Kittel rode on account of his illness completely in shambles for the rest of the season.
On his departure it seemed like Spekenbrink and Kittel parted as best friends. Everything seemed to be decided in harmony, there was not a cloud in the sky. The reason the rider had little or no prospect was that Giant Alpecin changed from a sprinter squad in a team of classification riders, a gotspe of the worst kind.
A GOTSPE: it is a difficult term to define. The significance lies between concepts as insolence, brutality in extreme form and something amiss. The word GOTSPE is known in English but also the translation: TRAVESTY.
Kittel was not responsible for the breakup but Spekenbrink, the success manager, was the cause of the destruction of his main rider. He treated him scandalously during his illness and kicked him like old dirt off the team. As a sponsor, I would immediately have turned off the money tap.
No professional team in the world would treat and frustrate a rider with a record as Kittel in such an indecent way.
Spekenbrink, I know him too well. We were for three years in the same teams of BankGiroLoterij and Skil Shimano. Too awful for words. I can imagine the joy of Kittel because only with victories he can demonstrate the blunders of Spekenbrink. I write this story after the Tour of Dubai has finished. Kittel makes his victory complete by winning the last stage and he finished also as overall winner. I could follow the race on Euro Sport. An interesting race with exceptionally good comments. Also the images of the country Dubai I will never forget.