Germany’s Kittel wins Stage 3 of Tour de France

AFP (Marcel Kittel)

German sprint king Marcel Kittel on Monday sped his way to a Stage 3 victory in the Tour de France, making it his second stage win in the first three days of the race.


It was the third and last leg to be held in England before the tour moves on to France.

Rain in the City of London doused riders at the end of the 155-kilometre ride from the university town of Cambridge to a dramatic finish past landmarks like Big Ben and Westminster.

Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey with a 2-second lead on the most likely contenders to win the three-week race in Paris on July 27.

Kittel, led out perfectly by Giant-Shimano teammates, made it look easy as he sped down the final wide approach on The Mall with Buckingham Palace behind him. Peter Sagan of Slovakia was second and Australia’s Mark Renshaw was third.

“It was awesome,” said Kittel, who won four Tour stages last year. “I’m really really happy I could win in front of Buckingham Palace.”

After a grueling up-and-down day through the hills and dales of Yorkshire on Sunday, amid huge roadside crowds, the pack seemed content to cruise a bit for Stage 3 – letting two breakaway riders go free. They were caught with about 6 kilometres left.

Fan knocked over

The first three stages in England have been a runaway success with fans – notably through Yorkshire’s hills and dales – with many Britons waving French flags and Union Jacks.

Curbs, sidewalks and roadsides teeming with fans again caused trouble for the riders. With about 30 kilometres left, 2010 Tour winner Andy Schleck of Luxembourg was among riders that had a mishap after an apparent collision with a fan who was seen on French TV laying on the ground as Schleck gingerly returned to the race.

Riders were to fly across the Channel for the start of Tuesday’s Stage 4 – a 163.5-kilometre ride from Le Touquet-Paris Plage to Lille Metropole on the border with Belgium.

Monday’s course route notably bypassed Trafalgar Square, whose landmark Nelson’s Column commemorates a British hero of the Napoleonic Wars.

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

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