Froome looks good in the yel­low jer­sey

Kit­tel takes 10th stage, but Tour leader gets top hon­our for 50th time

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - SA­MUEL PETREQUIN AND JOHN LE­ICES­TER

Mar­cel Kit­tel has no se­ri­ous chal­lenger for the King of the Sprint ti­tle at this year’s Tour de France cy­cling race.

The Ger­man sprinter won the 10th stage with re­mark­able ease on Tues­day, while Chris Froome stayed safely in the main pack to re­tain the race leader’s yel­low jer­sey. Kit­tel per­fectly timed his ef­fort in the fi­nal straight to post his fourth stage win since the start of the race, cross­ing the line ahead of fel­low Ger­man John De­genkolb.

The stage took the pelo­ton on a flat, 178-km run from Perigueux to Berg­erac in south­west France.

Froome, the three-time Tour cham­pion, will be wear the yel­low jer­sey for the 50th time on Wed­nes­day — join­ing five-time Tour win­ner Jac­ques An­quetil in fourth place on the all-time list be­hind Eddy Mer­ckx (96), Bernard Hin­ault (75), and Miguel In­durain (60).

“A huge, huge hon­our,” the Bri­tish rider said of the 50 days in yel­low.

Kit­tel was in 10th place af­ter ne­go­ti­at­ing the two sharp cor­ners of a chal­leng­ing fi­nal kilo­me­tre, be­fore turn­ing on the power to surge ahead of his ri­vals with 150 me­tres left and se­cur­ing his 13th ca­reer win on the Tour. He won by a bike’s length and had plenty of time to raise his arms in cel­e­bra­tion be­fore cross­ing the line. Kit­tel said his con­fi­dence is high af­ter his string of vic­to­ries.

“I know now from the last sprints that I can hold that speed to the fin­ish line,” he said. “I al­most can­not be­lieve what’s hap­pen­ing here at the Tour.”

Dutch rider Dy­lan Groe­newe­gen com­pleted the podium in the me­dieval town.

With Mark Cavendish, Peter Sa­gan and Arnaud De­mare out of the race, Kit­tel strength­ened his grip on the best sprinter’s green jer­sey. French sprinter Nacer Bouhanni, who had to set­tle for a sixth-place fin­ish, ac­knowl­edged Kit­tel’s su­pe­ri­or­ity.

“Kit­tel was the strong­est, he came from be­hind,” Bouhanni said. “He won four sprints out of five, he is the best sprinter of this Tour.”

Bouhanni was later fined $207 US and given a one-minute penalty in the gen­eral clas­si­fi­ca­tion for “as­sault,” the race jury said with­out elab­o­rat­ing. Video footage shows the French rider el­bow­ing an uniden­ti­fied rider from the Quick-Step Floors team to­ward the end of the stage.

Af­ter a plane jour­ney across France and a rest day, the race re­sumed in Perigueux for a flat ride through the lush land­scapes of the Dor­dogne prov­ince in south­west­ern France. Fol­low­ing a hec­tic stage in the Jura on Sun­day and with two hard stages in the Pyre­nees moun­tains later this week, the lead­ers were happy to let two French rid­ers with no am­bi­tions for the over­all race lead es­cape from the pack.

There was no ma­jor change in the over­all stand­ings, with Aru still trail­ing 18 sec­onds be­hind Froome and French­man Ro­main Bardet in third place, 51 sec­onds back.

Wed­nes­day’s stage is a flat and long 203.5-kilo­me­tre route from Eymet to Pau. It will be an­other day for the sprint­ers be­fore a moun­tain marathon of more than 200 kilo­me­tres the next day. Froome said Fri­day’s stage could be de­ci­sive and the next big bat­tle be­tween the con­tenders for over­all vic­tory.

“In the past, we have seen Grand Tours shaped by these stages be­fore,” he said. “That could be an­other day that could be de­ci­sive in this year’s Tour.”

CHRIS GRAYTHEN, GETTY IM­AGES

Mar­cel Kit­tel of Ger­many cel­e­brates eas­ily win­ning stage 10 Tues­day of the Tour de France in Berg­erac.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.