Kittel snatches fourth stage win, Froome stays in yellow

Froome and Tour rivals dust down after hectic week

Germany's Marcel Kittel won a sprint to the line on stage 10 to claim his fourth victory of this year's Tour de France, as Britain's Chris Froome retained the leader's yellow jersey.

Yesterday's finishing town of Pau will be the start of the second summit finish of the race, with the riders heading into the Pyrennes on Stage 12 of the Tour de France.

The Quick-Step Floors rider, who now has 14 stages to his name, left it late to launch his sprint but easily beat Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data).

Once again the 29-year-old German had enough time to raise his arm aloft, signifying his five stage wins, as he coasted over the line, his rivals only able to draft in behind him.

New Zealand rider George Bennett has kept his spot in the top 10 for another day, the Nelson cyclist remains in 10th, 3 minutes and 53 seconds behind Froome.

With at least three more possible sprint finishes to come in the race, Kittel could yet match the record of eight stage wins form a single Tour. The stage features six categorized climbs - including one Hors Categorie, but Tour organizers have disappointingly chosen a route that sees the stage conclude on a less-demanding category 2 climb. "It's not about being a VIP or part of history", Kittel said.

He has an 18 second-lead over Aru, with Bardet 51 seconds off the pace.




If only Tour de France riders and organizers had agreed to rest the last two days and hand Marcel Kittel his inevitable stage victories, they would have spared themselves a lot of kilometers and the rest of us some rather tiresome racing.

"I can't really believe it", he said. "I personally like to act like I don't have green on my shoulders because you saw a couple of days ago with the GC guys the race can very quickly be over", Kittel said.

"If we miss something and if we're caught out or not in position essentially it comes down on my shoulders because I'm usually the one who says where we go and when we go".

"Tomorrow, I'll know more in the mountains".

The 214.5-km trek from Pau to Peyragudes will offer opportunities for the aggressive riders, but a solo effort will be doomed as Briton Froome's Team Sky outfit are experts in containing the opposition.

While the peloton headed towards the Pyrenees, 2012 Tour victor Sir Bradley Wiggins was on the other side of France ready for Thursday's gathering on Mont Ventoux to remember Tom Simpson on the 50th anniversary of his death during the 1967 race. It doesn't look like Froome will give up his lead anytime soon, but we're officially reaching crunch time with Stage 12 on Thursday. First of all, it's not anything I would ever do, and I was already on my spare bike, so to risk putting my derailleur into Aru's front wheel - it's just insane.

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