Tour de France 2017: Marcel Kittels powers to stage six victory - Road Cycling UK

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Tour de France 2017: Marcel Kittels powers to stage six victory

German delivers monster sprint to win again; Chris Froome stays in yellow

Marcel Kittel (QuickStep Floors) sprinted to victory on stage six of the 2017 Tour de France in Troyes, coming from well back to outsprint green jersey Arnaud Demare (FDJ) and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal).

Kittel lost the wheel of lead-out man Fabio Sabbatini under the flamme rouge, finding himself several wheels back.

But he charged through open road on the left-hand-side of the road to bag the 11th Tour de France stage win of his career.

Demare’s second place, alongside a hatful of points at the intermediate sprint, mean the French champion retains the green jersey.

Dan McLay was the highest-placed Brit on the stage, bagging his first top-ten finish of this year’s Tour de France with an eighth-place finish.

Chris Froome (Team Sky) safely negotiated his first day in yellow, meanwhile, finishing safely in the peloton, as did white jersey Simon Yates (Orica-Scott).

Marcel Kittel won stage six of the 2017 Tour de France (pic – Sirotti)

Three riders broke clear from the start – Perrig Quemeneur (Direct Energie), Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates) – and their lead hovered between two and three minutes.

The action in the peloton was steady, with the sprint teams helping to control proceedings on the largely flat, 216km stage. An errant parasol blew into the peloton on one stretch of open road, but fortunately did not cause any damage, in one of few notable incidents.

At the intermediate sprint, Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) led the sprint out from the peloton, after Backaert crossed first up the road, but mistimed his effort as Demare was first from the bunch to strengthen his hold on the maillot vert.

After the sprint, the action again calmed down, however, with all effort on catching the front three and teeing up a bunch sprint.

Laurent Pichon (Fortuneo-Oscaro) attempted to bridge across to the three-man breakaway, but ultimately proved unsuccessful as the steady rhythm continued in bunch.

The advantage sat at 1’30” with 30km still to race, but Tony Martin drove on the front for Katusha-Alpecin to bring that down further.

The three escapees stubbornly maintained a 23-second lead as the final ten kilometres ticked down, but the pressure finally told and it was gruppo compacto with less than 5km to race.

Dimension Data took control of the bunch under the flamme rouge, with Mark Renshaw dropping Edvald Boasson Hagen off at the front with 500m still to sprint.

The Norwegian went for a long one, and led the way through the technical chicane on the run-in to the finish, but his effort started far too soon.

Marcel Kittel has won two stages of this year’s race, and 11 in total (pic – Sirotti)

Kittel, at the time, was well back in the bunch of sprinters, but as Greipel and Demare looked set to contest the sprint, Kittel charged through with a perfectly-timed kick for the line.

There was more tension in the sprint after the controversy of the finale to stage four, with Katusha-Alpecin’s Marco Haller visibly unhappy with Demare’s sprinting, but there were no crashes to report this time out.

On the win, Kittel said: “It was very different to Liege. Of course, the last kilometre was a little bit freestyle but I had a good wheel.

“I was able to start from a brilliant position, a little bit behind, to see where my rivals went and yeah… I feel good at the minute.”

It proved a relatively straightforward day for Froome and Yates in the yellow and white jerseys, repectively, meanwhile as the GC remained unchanged.

Tour de France 2017: stage six – result

1) Marcel Kittel (GER) – QuickStep Floors – 5.05.34hrs
2) Arnaud Demare (FRA) – FDJ – ST
3) Andre Greipel (GER) – Lotto-Soudal
4) Alexander Kristoff (NOR) – Katusha-Alpecin
5) Nacer Bouhanni (FRA) – Cofidis
6) Dylan Groenewegen (NED) – LottoNL-Jumbo
7) Michael Matthews (AUS) – Team Sunweb
8) Dan McLay (GBR) – Fortuneo-Oscaro
9) Rudiger Selig (GER) – Bora-hansgrohe
10) John Degenkolb (GER) – Trek-Segagredo

General classification

1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 23.44.33hrs
2) Geraint Thomas (GBR) – Team Sky +12″
3) Fabio Aru (ITA) – Astana +14″
4) Daniel Martin (IRL) – QuickStep Floors +25″
5) Richie Porte (AUS) – BMC Racing +39″
6) Simon Yates (GBR) – Orica-Scott +43″
7) Romain Bardet (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +47″
8) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Trek-Segafredo +52″
9) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar +54″
10) Rafal Majka (POL) – Bora-hansgrohe +1.01

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