A fourth stage win for Kittel in the Tour de France

Sport 11 July, 2017

Photo: Philippe Lopez, Agence France-Presse
Kittel (above in green) has increased to 13 of his total of stage victories in the Tour, the highest for a German rider of all generations.

Higher than the other sprinters, the German Marcel Kittel won his fourth success since the start of the Tour de France on Tuesday to Bergerac, at the end of the 10th stage.


Two days in the Pyrenees, the British Chris Froome has retained its position at the top of the standings after this and called it a day ” more quiet, without a lot of wind and without stress “. He has equaled in the passing of Jacques Anquetil, the champion of legend (5 Tours between 1957 and 1964), for the number of days with the yellow jersey.


On the line, the gap of several lengths which separated Kittel of his fellow countryman John Degenkolb has not let up this time no doubt. Nothing to do with the margin is incredibly narrow of 0.0003 second, which had given him the victory, last Friday, in the face of the Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen.


13 wins in the Tour


Kittel has increased to 13 of his total of stage victories in the Tour, the highest for a German rider of all generations. The record was held until this year’s Tour by Erik Zabel, the reference of the sprint to the German who has returned to Paris six green jerseys between 1996 and 2001.


In the race for the green jersey, Kittel has cemented his position at the top. The exclusion of the reigning world champion, the Slovak Peter Sagan, who was the immutable holder since 2012, and then the abandonment of the French champion Arnaud Démare has opened the road. Provided to cross the mountain and reach the Champs-Élysées.


The German team Quick-Step has equaled the score of his teammate, colombian Fernando Gaviria in the Giro. It was already as well as in 2013 and 2014, its two prolific years in the Tower.


Ironically, Kittel was not the fastest in the straight line final to Bergerac. The German has been timed to 69,26 km/h in top speed. The more “quickly” ? The Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen, third, to 70,02 km/h.


If Groenewegen is only a third of the stage, the reason is twofold. It refers to the placement of Kittel, in other words, the “timing” of the sprint to produce its effort, and also to the suction effect which benefited the Dutch to be closer to Degenkolb.


It remains to Kittel other opportunities to improve its balance sheet, since the four steps are still within reach of the sprinters (Pau, Romans-sur-Isère, Salon-de-Provence, Paris). Especially in the absence of rivals such as Sagan and Démare, but also the British Mark Cavendish (fall and abandonment in the 4th step).


A great sprinter


The German had already shown the most rapid in Liège (2nd step), Troyes (step 6) and Nuits-Saint-Georges (7th step). “I have never felt as well and this gives me extra confidence,” assured the German, smiling.


“He is the strongest in a sprint at this Tour de France. He has won four of five, there is not much else to do, ” admitted the Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni, the sixth step. Without lowering the arms, however : “I hope to find the opening. Why not tomorrow [Wednesday]. “


If we rely on in this regard, the scenario experienced in this stage of 178 kilometers with blending colours of the Périgord (blanc, starting, black then purple at arrival) may be repeated. Much to the chagrin of the two adventurers of the day, two novices of the Tower, Yoann Offredo and the benjamin Elie Gesbert (22 years old), in the head Tuesday on more than 170 kilometers.


The peloton gave them an advance of a maximum five and a half minutes before to modulate the prosecution to junction 7 kilometers from the line.


After the arrival, Offredo, already at the front on the road to Cork, regretted the absence of initiatives from other teams. Especially those who do not have a sprinter in their ranks.


“There’s not a lot of motivation from in a breakaway, has astonished the Inhabitant of the team Wanty. I am annoyed, not only for me but also for the viewer. “


To encourage the offensive in this type of flat stages, Offredo has reported in favour of compensation points (in the standings UCI international).


No other training that Wanty and Fortuneo, in effect, is a risky adventure on the roads of Dordogne, crossing landscapes, very touristic, because of the strict control of the team of Kittel.


“When Sylvain Chavanel has tried, we jumped in his wheel “, has entertained the Belgian Philippe Gilbert, former world champion.


Wednesday, sprinters should still have a new chance at the end of the 11th stage between Eymet and Pau. But the length of the course (203.5 km) and the superiority of Kittel leave a further opening for fighters.