Marcel Kittel abandons 2017 Tour de France after stage 17 crash - Road Cycling UK

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Marcel Kittel abandons 2017 Tour de France after stage 17 crash

Green jersey climbs off at the top of the Col de la Croix de Fer

Marcel Kittel (QuickStep Floors) has abandoned the 2017 Tour de France after crashing on stage 17 in the Alps.

Wearing the green jersey, Kittel crashed early in the stage in an incident which also saw British champion Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) and King of the Mountains Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb) hit the deck.

It was the German sprinter, winner of five stages in this year’s race, who came off worst, however, and despite remounting and carrying on, even requiring new shoes to do so, Kittel climbed off at the top of the Col de la Croix de Fer.

Marcel Kittel has abandoned the 2017 Tour de France after crashing on stage 17 (Pic: Sirotti)

It means Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) now leads the points classification, having won the intermediate sprint on stage 17 to initially cut the gap to nine points to Kittel.

However, with Kittel out, Matthews – who won stage 14 and stage 16 – now boasts a 160-point lead over Andre Greipel in the points classification.

It also opens up the final two anticipated sprint stages, with Kittel having dominated the flat stages in the first two weeks of this year’s Tour.

The German won stage two, on a day which started his home country, and then twice secured back-to-back victories – on stages six and seven, and then again on stages ten and 11.

He had led the points classification by 133 points after the latter stage in Pau, but Matthews had done superbly to cut the deficit ever since, in a battle that was shaping up to go all the way to the Champs-Elysees.

Unfortunately, however, Kittel’s crash took its toll and the German joins sprinting rivals Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), who crashed out on stage four, Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe), who was disqualified for causing that crash, and Arnaud Demare (FDJ), who missed the time cut on stage nine, in leaving the race early.

Marcel Kittel won five stages at the 2017 Tour de France (pic: Alex Whitehead/SWPix.com)

Kittel leaving the race also means Cavendish remains the only rider to have won more than five individual stages of a single Tour de France in the 21st century (six in 2009).

Kittel was the second rider to abandon on stage 17, with Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) calling it quits earlier in the day. Pinot’s abandonment means FDJ have just three riders left in the race, with three further team-mates missing the cut with Demare on stage nine and Arthur Vichot quitting on stage 13.

Kittel is the 27th rider in total to leave this year’s race, which, along with the aforementioned sprinters, has claimed several other high-profile victims, including Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), Richie Porte (BMC Racing), Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe), Philippe Gilbert (QuickStep Floors) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana).

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