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Marcel Kittel to take a break from cycling

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Berlin (AFP)

German cycling star Marcel Kittel has terminated his contract with Team Katusha Alpecin (TKA) in order to take a break from the sport, the team announced on Thursday.

The 30-year-old sprint specialist, who is a 14-time Tour de France stage winner, has not raced since early April amid fitness problems in 2019.

"At this moment, I am not able to train and race at the highest level," said Kittel in a statement on the TKA website.

"I have decided to take a break and take time for myself, think about my goals and make a plan for my future."

In his last race on April 10, Kittel finished 99th in the Scheldeprijs, a race he has won five times in his career.

The German pulled out of the Amgen Tour of California on Wednesday, before announcing his decision to take a break the following day.

He said the decision was the biggest challenge of his career, and insisted that he wanted to return to cycling in the future.

"It was for me a long decision process where I raised a lot of questions about how and where I want to go as a person and athlete and what is really important to me."

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