‘Proud’ Kit­tel con­tin­ues Tour sprint dom­i­na­tion

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Mar­cel Kit­tel can­tered to a fourth stage win of the Tour de France at the end of yes­ter­day’s 178km 10th stage from Perigueux to Berg­erac with Chris Froome re­tain­ing the over­all lead.

The 29-year-old Ger­man was im­pe­ri­ous as he won eas­ily ahead of com­pa­triot John De­genkolb with Dutch­man Dy­lan Groe­newe­gen third. “It’s true, it’s amaz­ing, I can’t even tell you how proud I am,” said Quick-Step’s Kit­tel.

“it’s a fourth stage win in 10 days, that’s a great achieve­ment for me and the team.” But it was the man­ner of Kit­tel’s vic­tory that was most im­pres­sive. Once he ac­cel­er­ated from around half a dozen bod­ies back, he sim­ply breezed past the com­pe­ti­tion and streaked clear to win by a cou­ple of bike lengths, even hav­ing time to raise his arms in cel­e­bra­tion be­fore cross­ing the line.

It means he is well set to make this his best Tour yet as he has al­ready matched his pre­vi­ous top ef­fort-four stage wins in both 2013 and 2014 — less than half the way through this year’s race.

In fact, Kit­tel has won four of the five flat sprint fin­ishes at the Tour this year, and in the one he didn’t win he was held up by a crash in the fi­nal kilo­me­ter. A tilt at the record of eight stage wins from a sin­gle Tour has now be­come a vi­able pos­si­bil­ity.

Kit­tel also broke the record for stage wins by a Ger­man, mov­ing one clear of the 12 mark he had shared with Erik Za­bel fol­low­ing his stage vic­tory on Fri­day.

And he in­creased his lead in the green points jer­sey com­pe­ti­tion, em­pha­sis­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of Kit­tel hold­ing it all the way to Paris-although he has a fair way to go to match Za­bel’s record of six wins in that cat­e­gory. Ear­lier in the day French pair Yoann Ofredo and Elie Ges­bert took off from the get-go on Tues­day’s stage and held a lead of five and a half min­utes at one stage but their ef­fort was al­ways doomed to fail­ure and they were in­evitably caught with seven kilo­me­tres left. For Bri­ton Froome, the reign­ing cham­pion, and the other over­all con­tenders it was a quiet and calm day in the sad­dle. The 10th stage fol­lowed Mon­day’s rest day and Froome ad­mit­ted Tues­day’s stage “al­most” felt like a sec­ond suc­ces­sive day off.

“It was a calmer day, there wasn’t much wind and no stress to­day-it was a less com­pli­cated stage. “It’s never easy but to­day was calmer.” That would have been a re­lief af­ter Sun­day’s calami­tous stage that saw five rid­ers crash out, in­clud­ing Aus­tralian con­tender Richie Porte.

Froome kept hold of the race leader’s yel­low jer­sey with an 18-sec­ond ad­van­tage to Italy’s Fabio Aru. France’s Ro­main Bardet is third at 51sec. —AFP

PERIGUEUX: Ger­many’s Mar­cel Kit­tel cel­e­brates his green jer­sey of best sprinter on the podium at the end of the 178 km tenth stage of the 104th edition of the Tour de France cy­cling race yes­ter­day be­tween Perigueux and Berg­erac. — AFP

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