Tour de France

Winning sprints like playing tetris for five-star Kittel

2017-07-12 22:02
Marcel Kittel (Getty)

Pau - Marcel Kittel said winning sprint finishes at the Tour de France was like playing tetris as he claimed a fifth stage success this year.

The 29-year-old German was at his imperious best in winning a fifth sprint finish out of six, once again making it look easy.

And the Quick-Step sprinter said finding his line to the finish was like playing a computer game.

"You know, sometimes when you're on your top level in the sprints, it's like playing tetris," he said.

"I'm very proud of this performance, it's amazing, it's going so well. The team is very well organised, I feel good and I'm always finding my route to the line.

"Five stage wins, that's remarkable at the Tour de France."

Having won back-to-back stages for the second time in this Tour, Kittel will have a couple of days out of the limelight in the Pyrenees now, as race leader Chris Froome and his rivals take centre stage.

Kittel, who has 14 stage wins in total since 2013, increased his lead in the green jersey competition to 133 points over Australian Michael Matthews and said he is now hoping to hold onto the jersey all the way to Paris.

"Of course, this doesn't come for free, it's hard work and to defend it over three weeks for me is a new experience.

"I'm looking forward to it."

Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen took second with Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway third in the sprint finish but there was agony for Poland's Maciej Bodnar who spent more than 200km in a breakaway, only to be caught with 300 metres to ride.

For Bodnar it was the second year in a row he'd come close to victory on the 11th stage.

- 'So close' -

Last year he was part of a late four-man breakaway alongside Froome and world champion Peter Sagan but was beaten to the line by both of those.

"It was so close, I'm a little bit disappointed, but what can I say," Bodnar, who revealed his father had died two months ago, said.

"Like last year, it was so close.

"I can be happy, maybe we can try in other stages, why not?"

Bodnar was part of a three-man breakaway from the gun of the 203.5km stage from Eymet to Pau alongside Italian Marco Marcato and Frederik Backaert of Belgium.

"When I saw one time with 3km to go, the bunch was still 200 metres (back), I was thinking I could still do it," he added.

"But the last 400 metres was really, really hard for me, and the bunch was going really fast.

"That was that. I think 10 seconds more then we could celebrate something nice."

Froome maintained his 18-second lead over Italy's Fabio Aru with Frenchman Romain Bardet third at 51sec.

And from Thursday, the yellow jersey battle will resume in the mountains with back-to-back Pyrenean stages.

Briton Froome said his Sky team will be wary of rivals attacking from distance, particularly the likes of Nairo Quintana and Alberto Contador, who have already lost significant time and sit more than two and five minutes respectively off the lead.

"The number one priority for us is not to allow anyone to come back into the GC (overall) game -- someone who's already lost time.

"For me personally, I've got to keep a close eye on Fabio Aru, it's only 18 seconds -- I'm going to have to stick to him like glue tomorrow."

But Quintana, amongst others, is planning to make a move.

"If I'm strong, I'll attack. We'll see," he said.

Contador, meanwhile, crashed twice on Wednesday, taking to four his total number of spills in the race.

He's been nursing injuries since Sunday but said anyone questioning whether he would go on is barking up the wrong tree.

"It's true that this Tour is pushing me to my psychological limits but I'm telling you, if people think I'm going to give up it's because they don't know me."

Results from stage 11 of the Tour de France, a 203.5km run from Eymet to Pau on Wednesday:

1. Marcel Kittel (GER/QST) 4hrs 34min 27sec

2. Dylan Groenewegen (NED/LNL) at 0:00.

3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR/DDT) 0:00.

4. Michael Matthews (AUS/SUN) 0:00.

5. Daniel McLay (GBR/TFO) 0:00.

6. Davide Cimolai (ITA/FDJ) 0:00.

7. Andr Greipel (GER/LOT) 0:00.

8. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA/COF) 0:00.

9. Ben Swift (GBR/EAU) 0:00.

10. Danilo Wyss (SUI/BMC) 0:00.

11. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (BEL/AJW) 0:00.

12. Alexander Kristoff (NOR/KAT) 0:00.

13. Florian Vachon (FRA/TFO) 0:00.

14. Dion Smith (NZL/AJW) 0:00.

15. Damiano Caruso (ITA/BMC) 0:00.

16. Rdiger Selig (GER/BOR) 0:00.

17. Andrea Pasqualon (ITA/AJW) 0:00.

18. Thomas Boudat (FRA/DEN) 0:00.

19. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA/DEN) 0:00.

20. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL/AJW) 0:00.

21. Fabio Sabatini (ITA/QST) 0:00.

22. Taylor Phinney (USA/CAN) 0:00.

23. Yoann Offredo (FRA/AJW) 0:00.

24. Christophe Laporte (FRA/COF) 0:00.

25. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL/SKY) 0:00.

26. Koen de Kort (NED/TRE) 0:00.

27. Christopher Froome (GBR/SKY) 0:00.

28. Esteban Chaves (COL/ORI) 0:00.

29. Jens Keukeleire (BEL/ORI) 0:00.

30. Daniel Martin (EIR/QST) 0:00.

31. Rick Zabel (GER/KAT) 0:00.

32. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST) 0:00.

33. Simon Yates (GBR/ORI) 0:00.

34. Fabio Aru (ITA/AST) 0:00.

35. Lilian Calmejane (FRA/DEN) 0:00.

36. Daniele Bennati (ITA/MOV) 0:00.

37. Emanuel Buchmann (GER/BOR) 0:00.

38. Mathew Hayman (AUS/ORI) 0:00.

39. George Bennett (NZL/LNL) 0:00.

40. Matteo Bono (ITA/EAU) 0:00.

41. Cyril Gautier (FRA/ALM) 0:00.

42. Jay McCarthy (AUS/BOR) 0:00.

43. Sonny Colbrelli (ITA/BAH) 0:00.

44. Oliver Naesen (BEL/ALM) 0:00.

45. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 0:00.

46. Timo Roosen (NED/LNL) 0:00.

47. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 0:00.

48. Tony Gallopin (FRA/LOT) 0:00.

49. Rigoberto Uran (COL/CAN) 0:00.

50. Louis Meintjes (RSA/EAU) 0:00.

51. Pierre Latour (FRA/ALM) 0:00.

52. Sergio Henao (COL/SKY) 0:00.

53. Brice Feillu (FRA/TFO) 0:00.

54. Maciej Bodnar (POL/BOR) 0:00.

55. Vasil Kiryienka (BLR/SKY) 0:00.

56. Roman Kreuziger (CZE/ORI) 0:00.

57. Mikel Landa (ESP/SKY) 0:00.

58. Mikel Nieve (ESP/SKY) 0:00.

59. Carlos Betancur (COL/MOV) 0:00.

60. Andrey Zeits (KAZ/AST) 0:00.

61. Yukiya Arashiro (JPN/BAH) 0:00.

62. Jasha Stterlin (GER/MOV) 0:00.

63. Janez Brajkovic (SLO/BAH) 0:00.

64. Warren Barguil (FRA/SUN) 0:00.

65. Marco Minnaard (NED/AJW) 0:00.

66. Guillaume Martin (FRA/AJW) 0:00.

67. Jan Bakelants (BEL/ALM) 0:00.

68. Thomas Degand (BEL/AJW) 0:00.

69. Jrgen Roelandts (BEL/LOT) 0:00.

70. Luis Angel Mat (ESP/COF) 0:00.

71. Alberto Contador (ESP/TRE) 0:00.

72. Fabio Felline (ITA/TRE) 0:00.

73. Diego Ulissi (ITA/EAU) 0:00.

74. Angelo Tulik (FRA/DEN) 0:00.

75. Pawel Poljanski (POL/BOR) 0:00.

76. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA/DDT) 0:00.

77. Jarlinson Pantano (COL/TRE) 0:00.

78. Ben Gastauer (LUX/ALM) 0:00.

79. Nils Politt (GER/KAT) 0:00.

80. Michael Valgren (DEN/AST) 0:00.

81. Bauke Mollema (NED/TRE) 0:00.

82. John Degenkolb (GER/TRE) 0:00.

83. Tiesj Benoot (BEL/LOT) 0:00.

84. Markel Irizar (ESP/TRE) 0:00.

85. Pierre-Luc Prichon (FRA/TFO) 0:00.

86. Mathias Frank (SUI/ALM) 0:00.

87. Haimar Zubeldia (ESP/TRE) 0:00.

88. Kristijan urasek (CRO/EAU) 0:00.

89. Dmitriy Gruzdev (KAZ/AST) 0:00.

90. Reto Hollenstein (SUI/KAT) 0:00.

91. Michael Albasini (SUI/ORI) 0:00.

92. Nicolas Roche (IRL/BMC) 0:00.

93. Maurits Lammertink (NED/KAT) 0:00.

94. Andriy Grivko (UKR/AST) 0:00.

95. Tony Martin (GER/KAT) 0:00.

96. Nathan Brown (USA/CAN) 0:00.

97. Jonathan Castroviejo (ESP/MOV) 0:00.

98. Imanol Erviti (ESP/MOV) 0:00.

99. Andrey Amador (CRC/MOV) 0:00.

100. Michael Schr (SUI/BMC) 0:00.

101. Romain Hardy (FRA/TFO) 0:00.

102. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL/BMC) 0:00.

103. Serge Pauwels (BEL/DDT) 0:00.

104. Rudy Molard (FRA/FDJ) 0:00.

105. Daryl Impey (RSA/ORI) 0:00.

106. Arthur Vichot (FRA/FDJ) 0:00.

107. Ondrej Cink (CZE/BAH) 0:00.

108. Patrick Bevin (NZL/CAN) 0:00.

109. Maxime Bouet (FRA/TFO) 0:00.

110. Alexis Vuillermoz (FRA/ALM) 0:00.

111. Roy Curvers (NED/SUN) 0:00.

112. Daniel Navarro (ESP/COF) 0:00.

113. Marco Haller (AUT/KAT) 0:00.

114. Olivier Le Gac (FRA/FDJ) 0:00.

115. Adam Hansen (AUS/LOT) 0:00.

116. Marcel Sieberg (GER/LOT) 0:00.

117. Borut Bozic (SLO/BAH) 0:00.

118. Nicolas Edet (FRA/COF) 0:00.

119. Tiago Machado (POR/KAT) 0:00.

120. Lars Bak (DEN/LOT) 0:00.

121. Axel Domont (FRA/ALM) 0:00.

122. Jack Bauer (NZL/QST) 0:00.

123. Yohann Gne (FRA/DEN) 0:00.

124. Robert Kiserlovski (CRO/KAT) 0:00.

125. Tsgabu Grmay (ETH/BAH) 0:00.

126. Darwin Atapuma (COL/EAU) 0:00.

127. Marcus Burghardt (GER/BOR) 0:00.

128. Amal Moinard (FRA/BMC) 0:00.

129. Damien Howson (AUS/ORI) 0:00.

130. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) 0:00.

131. Simon Geschke (GER/SUN) 0:00.

132. Stephen Cummings (GBR/DDT) 0:00.

133. Grega Bole (SLO/BAH) 0:00.

134. Primoz Roglic (SLO/LNL) 0:00.

135. Adrien Petit (FRA/DEN) 0:00.

136. Romain Sicard (FRA/DEN) 0:35sec

137. Philippe Gilbert (BEL/QST) 0:37.

138. Elie Gesbert (FRA/TFO) 0:38.

139. Christian Knees (GER/SKY) 0:47.

140. Ramon Sinkeldam (NED/SUN) 1:07.

141. Nikias Arndt (GER/SUN) 1:07.

142. Zdenek Stybar (CZE/QST) 1:10.

143. Florian Snchal (FRA/COF) 1:10.

144. Dimitri Claeys (BEL/COF) 1:10.

145. Cyril Lemoine (FRA/COF) 1:10.

146. Andrew Talansky (USA/CAN) 1:10.

147. Tom Leezer (NED/LNL) 1:10.

148. Paul Martens (GER/LNL) 1:14.

149. Bernhard Eisel (AUT/DDT) 1:22.

150. Stefan Kung (SUI/BMC) 1:26.

151. Frederik Backaert (BEL/AJW) 1:26.

152. Perrig Qumeneur (FRA/DEN) 1:26.

153. Gianluca Brambilla (ITA/QST) 1:26.

154. Luke Rowe (GBR/SKY) 1:26.

155. Scott Thwaites (GBR/DDT) 1:26.

156. Eduardo Sepulveda (ARG/TFO) 1:26.

157. Pierre Rolland (FRA/CAN) 1:26.

158. Javier Moreno (ESP/BAH) 1:26.

159. Alessandro De Marchi (ITA/BMC) 1:37.

160. Thomas De Gendt (BEL/LOT) 2:06.

161. Thomas Voeckler (FRA/DEN) 2:06.

162. Laurent Pichon (FRA/TFO) 2:06.

163. Robert Wagner (GER/LNL) 2:06.

164. Julien Simon (FRA/COF) 2:06.

165. Jesus Herrada (ESP/MOV) 2:06.

166. Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (KAZ/AST) 2:20.

167. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ/AST) 2:20.

168. Marco Marcato (ITA/EAU) 2:20.

169. Vegard Laengen (NOR/EAU) 2:20.

170. Jaco Venter (RSA/DDT) 2:20.

171. Dylan van Baarle (NED/CAN) 2:20.

172. Mike Teunissen (NED/SUN) 2:20.

173. Albert Timmer (NED/SUN) 2:20.

174. Alberto Bettiol (ITA/CAN) 2:20.

175. Simon Clarke (AUS/CAN) 2:20.

176. Laurens ten Dam (NED/SUN) 2:20.

177. Julien Vermote (BEL/QST) 3:44.

178. Michael Gogl (AUT/TRE) 4:16.

179. Tim Wellens (BEL/LOT) 6:04.

Abandoned: Dario Cataldo (ITA/AST)

Read more on:    tdf 2017  |  marcel kittel  |  cycling
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