Telomere elongation is cell-cycle regulated and requires the coordinated activity of proteins involved in the DNA damage response. We used an assay that detects de novo telomere addition to examine the role of the cyclin-dependent kinase Cdk1 (Cdc28) in cell-cycle-specific telomere elongation. Inhibition of an ATP analog-sensitive allele of Cdk1 completely blocked the addition of telomere repeats. Mutations in Rif2 and DNA polymerase alpha that cause increased telomere elongation were unable to compensate for the loss of Cdk1 activity, suggesting Cdk1 activity is required for an early step in telomere addition. Mutations in DNA repair proteins that act with Cdk1 at double-strand breaks also prevented telomere elongation. Cdk1 activity was required for the generation of 3' single-strand overhangs at both native and de novo telomeres. We propose Cdk1 activity controls the timing of telomere elongation by regulating the single-strand overhang at chromosome ends.