Kittel lands third stage win after Froome falls

Tue Jul 8, 2014 5:57pm EDT
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By Julien Pretot

LILLE France (Reuters) - German Marcel Kittel claimed his third win on this year's Tour de France by prevailing in a bunch sprint in Tuesday's fourth stage after defending champion Chris Froome suffered a heavy fall.

Kittel, who also triumphed in the first and third legs, took his overall tally to seven Tour stage victories after beating Norwegian Alexander Kristoff and France's Arnaud Demare.

It was not as smooth as the first two wins as his Giant-Shimano team could not lead him into the finale but Kittel finished off the job himself.

"I was not sure when to start my sprint, it worked out but it was very close," he told a news conference. "In the end there was a possibility to sit on the wheels of another team."

The Giant-Shimano outfit was put to the test by other teams who rode hard in the final three kilometres in an effort to isolate Kittel.

"We should take it maybe as a compliment," the German said. "It was fast and very nervous but I was there with one kilometre to go."

Italian Vincenzo Nibali retained the overall leader's yellow jersey after spending a quiet day in the peloton.

Froome fell off his bike five kilometres into the 163.5-km ride from Le Touquet but quickly got back in the saddle despite sustaining a wrist injury and bruising his hip, shoulder, knee and elbow.   Continued...

Giant-Shimano team rider Marcel Kittel of Germany celebrates on the podium after winning the 155 km third stage of the Tour de France cycling race from Cambridge to London July 7, 2014           REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier