- Tour de France
Kittel sprints to stage three victory in London
Marcel Kittel has won stage three of the Tour de France after a pulsating sprint finish in London.
Giant-Shimano rider Kittel, who won Saturday's opening stage, got himself in prime position in the closing 500 metres of The Mall and held off the challenge of Peter Sagan as he crossed the line.
"That is the fastest I think I have been on a sprint finish. The crowd was fantastic," Kittel said.
"In the last 500m the biggest fight was already over. Until then it was hectic because it started to rain and everyone wanted to be on the front. I got a bit lost but Tom Veelers bought me back to the wheel of Koen de Kort and then we rode hard. The finish was just amazing - I've never seen such a finish in cycling."
Vincenzo Nibali retains the yellow jersey with reigning champion Chris Froome still two seconds off the lead as Le Tour gets ready to head to France after completing the opening stages in Britain.
"The big thing was to get through the stage, don't lose time or have any issues or incidents," Froome said, who finished safely in the bunch.
"I'm feeling good. Tomorrow we can expect a similar day but on day five we hit the cobbles and that will be quite a shake up, literally. It was a good day for us and we're three days into the Tour now. It's quite a good feeling. We did get a little bit wet in the final [kilometres] but I suppose it wouldn't have been a British start without a bit of rain."
It's been an epic 3 days in the UK, thanks to all the fans that came out and made it so special! #TDF2014— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) July 7, 2014
The 155-kilometre stage from Cambridge to London began with Jean-Marc Bideau launching the first attack of the day - the third consecutive day that a rider from the Bretagne-Séché Environnement team did so.
Jan Barta joined Bideau at the front, but with eight kilometres remaining Bideau was caught by the peloton, leaving Barta by himself for the following two kilometres.
Giant-Shimano then showed their class to get Kittel to the front of the peloton after he was brought back into contention by Tom Veelers.
Kittel then demonstrated his tremendous power at the end to claim his sixth stage win at the Tour de France and his second in the space of three days at this year's event.
No words for today. I feel so honored to have this amazing team around me! A perfect leadout & sprint! This is how team sport looks like!!— Marcel Kittel (@marcelkittel) July 7, 2014
And maybe even the queen saw this sprint royale.... ;)— Marcel Kittel (@marcelkittel) July 7, 2014
Stage three result:
1. Marcel Kittel (Germany / Giant) 3:38:30"
2. Peter Sagan (Slovakia / Cannondale)
3. Mark Renshaw (Australia / Omega Pharma - Quick-Step)
4. Bryan Coquard (France / Europcar)
5. Alexander Kristoff (Norway / Katusha)
6. Danny van Poppel (Netherlands / Trek)
7. Heinrich Haussler (Australia / IAM Cycling)
8. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spain / Movistar)
9. Romain Feillu (France / Bretagne)
10. Daniel Oss (Italy / BMC Racing)
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy / Astana) 13:31:13"
2. Peter Sagan (Slovakia / Cannondale) +2secs
3. Michael Albasini (Switzerland / Orica-GreenEdge)
4. Greg van Avermaet (Belgium / BMC)
5. Chris Froome (Great Britain / Team Sky)
6. Bauke Mollema (Netherlands / Belkin)
7. Alberto Contador (Spain / Tinkoff-Saxo)
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spain / Movistar)
9. Jurgen van den Broeck (Belgium / Lotto Belisol)
10. Romain Bardet (France / Ag2r-La Mondiale)