Tour de France 2017: Marcel Kittel makes it five on stage 11

Green jersey unstoppable as he claims yet another stage win

Marcel Kittel won his fifth stage of the 2017 Tour de France, in the green jersey, coming from behind to outsprint Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) once again.

Having beaten the Norwegian champion in a photo finish on stage seven, this time the win was a little more comfortable – Kittel having time to get an arm in the air to celebrate.

The German, once again, came from several places back in the final 200m – after Maciej Bodnar’s day in the break ended heartbreakingly short of the finish line.

Boasson Hagen ultimately finished third, with Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) snatching second; Britain’s Dan McLay (Fortuneo-Oscaro) finished fifth, while Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates) was ninth.

Chris Froome (Team Sky) once again defended the yellow jersey meanwhile, on a day which saw second-placed Fabio Aru (Astana) lose a key domestique to a crash.

Marcel Kittel has won five stages at the 2017 Tour de France (pic – Sirotti)

On another day to be filed firmly under ‘transition stage’, three men got in the breakaway – Marco Marcato (UAE Team Emirates), Frederik Backaert (Wanty Groupe-Gobert) and Bodnar.

As with every other flat stage in this year’s race, however, the sprint teams packed the front of the peloton and never allowed the trio to get too significant an advantage, with the three hindered further by a headwind.

That said, it was not as incident-free as stage 11 had been, with a number of crashes punctuating the stage.

One, in the feed zone, resulted in Dario Cataldo (Astana) leaving the race with a suspected broken wrist, costing Aru one of his key climbing domestiques, while fifth-placed Jakob Fuglsang was also hurt.

The same incident saw John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) and Perrig Quemeneur (Direct Energie) hit the deck, but both remounted.

At the intermediate sprint, Marcato led the bunch through while Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) beat Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) in the kick from the peloton, at 2’20” behind the three escapees.

Backaert led over the Cote d’Aire-sur-l’Adour to claim the lone mountain point on offer, meanwhile, before more crashes slowed the bunch down.

This time Arthur Vichot – one of just five FDJ riders left in the race after Arnaud Demare and three team-mates missed the time cut on stage nine – suffered a knee injury, while Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) needed a bike change.

Matthews and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) also crashed, but a slight slowing of the pace in the peloton allowed the injured men to chase back on.

When the pace was put back on, the gap to the breakaway trio rapidly decreased, prompting Bodnar to go it alone with 28km to go.

Back in the bunch another crash saw Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) and team-mate Michal Gogl go down, but it was the Pole who came off worse as El Pistolero chased back on.

Kittel is also charging towards his first green jersey, with a lead of more than 100 points over Michael Matthews (pic – Sirotti)

Bodnar’s acceleration worried the peloton sufficiently for QuickStep Floors to ramp up the pace, with Philippe Gilbert pulling hard, and Lotto-Soudal and Katusha-Alpecin were also sufficiently concerned as the gap held at 40 seconds with 10km to go.

Bodnar was still clear under the 3km-to-go kite but his lead, with Direct Energie and Dimension Data also chasing, was down to just 12 seconds and he was caught just 200m from the line.

Boasson Hagen led the sprint out on the right-hand side of the road, with Matthews on his wheel, but the German found open road in the middle and charged through to claim victory once again.

It left the Dimension Data man beating his handlebars in frustration, as Kittel admitted post-stage: “I’m super-proud. I’ve got the legs, I’ve got the mind for it. It’s perfect at the moment.”

With no change in the top-ten overall, meanwhile, Froome will wear yellow on stage 12 and Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) remains in the white jersey.

Tour de France 2017: stage 11 – report

1) Marcel Kittel (GER) – QuickStep Floors – 4.34.27hrs
2) Dylan Groenewegen (NED) – LottoNL-Jumbo – ST
3) Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) – Dimension Data
4) Michael Matthews (AUS) – Team Sunweb
5) Dan McLay (GBR) – Fortuneo-Oscaro
6) Davide Cimolai (ITA) – FDJ
7) Andre Greipel (GER) – Lotto-Soudal
8) Nacer Bouhanni (FRA) – Cofidis
9) Ben Swift (GBR) – UAE Team Emirates
10) Danilo Wyss (SUI) – BMC Racing

General classification

1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 47.01.55hrs
2) Fabio Aru (ITA) – Astana +18″
3) Romain Bardet (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +51″
4) Rigoberto Uran (COL) – Cannondale-Drapac +55″
5) Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) – Astana +1.37
6) Daniel Martin (IRL) – QuickStep Floors +1.44
7) Simon Yates (GBR) – Orica-Scott +2.02
8) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar +2.13
9) Mikel Landa (ESP) – Team Sky +3.06
10) George Bennett (NZL) – LottoNL-Jumbo +3.53

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