Sprint king Kittel wins third stage of Tour de France
Marcel Kittel emphasised his status as the best sprinter in the world by winning the third stage of the Tour de France in a bunch finish at Buckingham Palace in London yesterday.
The 26-year-old German won his second stage out of three at this year’s Grand Boucle as he proved too strong for the competition down the final straight.
Without former world champion and 25-time Tour stage winner Mark Cavendish for competition, Kittel looked in a class of his own.
Cavendish crashed on the finish to the first stage in Harrogate on Saturday and dislocated his collarbone, withdrawing from the race before the start of Sunday’s second stage from York.
Launched perfectly by his Giant-Shimano team, the battle behind Kittel was merely for his back wheel and the slipstream his huge frame provides.
Peter Sagan, who took second on the stage ahead of Australian Mark Renshaw, won that particular battle but never had the strength nor the belief to try to dive out from behind Kittel to go for the win. Kittel simply led home a procession, turning the final dash to the line into a demonstration of his pace and power.
Race leader and yellow jersey wearer Vincenzo Nibali kept out of trouble while twice former winner Alberto Contador tested his legs in the final few kilometres by keeping near the front, more to stay away from potential danger than to try to finish high up.