Kittel Takes Additional Stage Win at Tour de France
Today's stage 10 of the 2017 Tour de France followed a well-deserved rest day and took the riders on a journey through the beautiful Dordogne region in southwestern France. Though originally inhabited by four tribes, since loved by Antoine de Saint-Exupery and Josephine Baker, the region today offered the center stage to quite a different audience - the sprint aces within the Tour de France peloton, who were eager to engage on a 178 kilometer ride in flat territory from Perigueux to Bergerac.
Hoping to trick the sprinters by forming a durable breakaway group, Team Wanty–Groupe Gobert's Yoann Offredo attacked when the flag went down at kilometer 0. Though clearly impatient and dissatisfied with his role as sole spearhead of the Tour peloton at first, he was eventually joined by Élie Gesbert of Fortuneo-Vital Concept. The two cooperated well and formed the breakaway duo of the day.
The two breakaway hopefuls were caught by the peloton with seven kilometers of today's stage remaining, as the sprinter teams built speed and organized themselves for a bunch sprint finish.
The stage was won by Germany's Marcel Kittel of Team QuickStep Floors, who finished ahead of John Degenkolb of Trek-Segafredo and Dylan Groenewegen of Team Lotto NL-Jumbo.
"It is incredible to win four stages in a single edition of the Tour de France and it means a lot to me to achieve this fantastic feat," Kittel told Roadcycling.com.
"When I began my career, I was dreaming about becoming a professional, but I never expected something like this. I never race to break records, but I must admit that having thirteen Tour de France stages to my name is really special."
Kittel broke Erik Zabel's 15-year-old record and became the most successful German rider in terms of achieved stage wins at the Grande Boucle.
Alexander Kristoff finished 5th and Nacer Bouhanni 6th in today's stage, while Lotto-Soudal's André Greipel and Team Sunweb's Michael Matthews finished outside the top 10, because they were boxed in and could not use their sprinting qualities to their full advantage, despite Lotto-Soudal's Lars Bak and Jürgen Roelandts both having done excellent work at the front to set the stage for Greipel.
"Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to win the stage today," Lotto-Soudal team manager Marc Sergeant explained. "We put our train on the rails with six kilometers remaining, but it went wrong in the final straight. I understand that there are questions when we don’t get the win. But I think that we came to the Tour de France with two clear goals in mind. One of them is to try to win a stage with André (Greipel). We have a very experienced team, that tries to achieve the best result possible, day in and day out, and we won’t abandon that plan."
Today's stage did not result in any changes at the top of the general classification. Team Sky's Chris Froome remains overall leader, followed by Fabio Aru (Astana Team) and Frenchman Romain Bardet of AG2R La Mondiale.
Wednesday's stage 11 will offer the sprint teams an additional chance of fame and glory. The 203.5 kilometer route takes the riders from Eymet to Pau - a town where Tour de France stages traditionally climax in sprint finishes.
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