BERGERAC, France (AP) — Marcel Kittel has no severe challenger for the King of the Dash title at this yr’s Tour de France.
The German sprinter received the 10th stage with exceptional ease on Tuesday, whereas Chris Froome stayed safely in the principle pack to retain the race chief’s yellow jersey.
Kittel completely timed his effort within the ultimate straight to submit his fourth stage win for the reason that begin of the race, crossing the road forward of fellow German John Degenkolb.
The stage took the peloton on a flat, 178-kilometer (111-mile) run from Perigueux to Bergerac in southwestern France.
Froome, the three-time Tour champion, will probably be put on the yellow jersey for the 50th time on Wednesday – becoming a member of five-time Tour winner Jacques Anquetil in fourth place on the all-time listing behind Eddy Merckx (96), Bernard Hinault (75), and Miguel Indurain (60).
“An enormous, enormous honor,” the British rider mentioned of the 50 days in yellow.
Kittel was in 10th place after negotiating the 2 sharp corners of a difficult ultimate kilometer, earlier than turning on the facility to surge forward of his rivals with 150 meters left and securing his 13th profession win on the Tour.
He received by a motorcycle’s size and had loads of time to boost his arms in celebration earlier than crossing the road.
Kittel mentioned his confidence is excessive after his string of victories.
“I do know now from the final sprints that I can maintain that pace to the end line,” he mentioned. “I nearly can’t consider what’s occurring right here on the Tour.”
Dutch rider Dylan Groenewegen accomplished the rostrum within the medieval city.
With Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan and Arnaud Demare out of the race, Kittel strengthened his grip on the very best sprinter’s inexperienced jersey. French sprinter Nacer Bouhanni, who needed to accept a sixth-place end, acknowledged Kittel’s superiority.
“Kittel was the strongest, he got here from behind,” Bouhanni mentioned. “He received 4 sprints out of 5, he’s the very best sprinter of this Tour.”
Bouhanni was later fined 200 Swiss francs ($207) and given a one-minute penalty within the basic classification for “assault,” the race jury mentioned with out elaborating. Video footage exhibits the French rider elbowing an unidentified rider from the Fast-Step Flooring workforce towards the top of the stage.
After a aircraft journey throughout France and a relaxation day, the race resumed in Perigueux for a flat trip by way of the luxurious landscapes of the Dordogne province in southwestern France.
Following a busy stage within the Jura on Sunday and with two laborious levels within the Pyrenees mountains later this week, Froome and his fundamental rivals have been completely satisfied to let two French riders with no ambitions for the general race lead escape from the pack.
Yoann Offredo went on his personal instantly after the race director waved the flag to sign the beginning. He was joined quickly afterward by Elie Gesbert, the youngest rider within the peloton at 22 years outdated, and the pair shortly opened a spot.
Their lead stabilized at about 5 minutes because the peloton moved previous the Lascaux cave, a prehistoric World Heritage web site that includes some very good looking scenes. Second-place Fabio Aru was all smiles close to Domme – a picturesque city perched on a wide ranging cliff above the Dordogne river – and shook palms with one other rider at a pedestrian tempo.
“We chatted, admired the countryside. It was very nice,” Warren Barguil mentioned, summing up the day.
Towards the top, the sprinters’ groups organized the chase, decreasing the deficit of the peloton to slightly greater than two minutes with 40 kilometers left. Offredo and Gesbert fought laborious till the top, however have been hampered by a robust headwind and have been caught seven kilometers from the end.
There was no main change within the total standings, with Aru nonetheless trailing 18 seconds behind Froome and Frenchman Romain Bardet in third place, 51 seconds again.
“It was a extra fairly day in the present day, with out wind, no stress,” Froome mentioned. “I am already excited about the Pyrenees, it is the subsequent huge aim, I will must be prepared.”
Wednesday’s stage is a flat and lengthy 203.5-kilometer (126.5-mile) route from Eymet to Pau. Will probably be one other day for the sprinters earlier than a mountain marathon of greater than 200 kilometers the subsequent day.
Froome mentioned Friday’s stage could possibly be decisive and the subsequent huge battle between the contenders for total victory.
“Up to now, we have now seen Grand Excursions formed by these levels earlier than,” he mentioned. “That could possibly be one other day that could possibly be decisive on this yr’s Tour.”
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