The German rider said he was taking a break from cycling in May, but confirmed his break from the sport would be permanent on Friday.
The 31-year-old sprinter, who has 14 Tour de France stage wins to his name, said the physical affects and the time away from his family were both reasons for the decision. Kittel said:
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As a cyclist, you are on the road for 200 days of the year. I didn't want to watch my son grow up via Skype.
"The sport and the world you live in are defined by pain.
"You don't have time for family and friends, and then there's the perpetual tiredness and routine.
"The biggest question of the last few months was: 'Can I and do I want to continue to make the sacrifices needed to be a world-class athlete?'
"And my answer is: 'No, I do not want that any more, because I have always found the limitations on a top athlete as an increasing loss of quality of life.'
"That is why I am very happy and proud that at this point in my life I can make the decision to follow my heart in a new direction."
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Kittel's career peaked in 2017 when he won five stages of le Tour and a second straight Dubai Tour but his move to Team Katusha Alpecin in 2018 proved an unhappy one and his contract was terminated by mutual consent earlier this year.
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