Kit­tel wins Stage 10; Froome keeps lead

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Sa­muel Petrequin and John Le­ices­ter

BERG­ERAC, FRANCE» Mar­cel Kit­tel has no se­ri­ous chal­lenger for the King of the Sprint ti­tle at this year’s Tour de France.

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, 178kilo­me­ter (111-mile) run from Perigueux to Berg­erac in south­west­ern 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 honor,” 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 kilo­me­ter, be­fore turn­ing on the power to surge ahead of his ri­vals with 150 me­ters 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.”

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