Marcel Kittel: German sprinter quits Team Katusha Alpecin to take break from racing
German sprinter Marcel Kittel is taking a break from cycling, saying he is "exhausted" and needs to "think about my goals".
The 30-year-old's contract with Team Katusha Alpecin has been terminated by mutual agreement.
"At this moment, I am not able to train and race at the highest level," said Kittel, who has 19 grand tour stage wins.
"From now on I will put my happiness and joy above everything," he added.
Kittel joined the team last year but had not shown the form that made him a leading sprinter. The last of his 14 Tour de France stage wins came in 2017.
"I would like to ride and race again in the future and I have to work out a plan to be able to reach this goal," Kittel continued.
The team's general manager Jose Azevedo said: "It is with sadness that we have agreed with Marcel's request to step away from the team and from racing.
"We understand the situation in which Marcel is and we fully support him in this difficult time. We hope that he will soon get back to racing as the champion he is."