Kittel wins 4th tour stage as Froome takes a spill

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Kittel wins 4th tour stage as Froome takes a spill
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 7: The pack races at the third stage of the 2014 Le Tour de France, a 155km stage between Cambridge and London, on July 7, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Yunus Kaymaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 7: The pack pasts Big Ben at the end of the third stage of 2014 Le Tour de France, a 155km stage between Cambridge and London, on July 7, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Yunus Kaymaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Chris Froome (r) of Great Britain and Team SKY chats to the press at the start of the third stage of the 2014 Tour de France, a 155km stage between Cambridge and London, on July 7, 2014 in Cambridge, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
(From L) Italy's Vincenzo Nibali wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, and Britain's Christopher Froome wait at the departure village in Cambridge prior to the start of the 155 km third stage of the 101st edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 7, 2014 between Cambridge and London, southwestern England. AFP PHOTO / JEFF PACHOUD (Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)
CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Race leader Vincenzo Nibali (l) of Italy and the Astana Pro Team chats to Chris Froome of Great Britain and Team SKY at the start of the third stage of the 2014 Tour de France, a 155km stage between Cambridge and London, on July 7, 2014 in Cambridge, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Czech Republic's Jan Barta celebrates his combativity prize on the podium at the end of the 155 km third stage of the 101st edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 7, 2014 between Cambridge and London, southwestern England. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
Riders enter Parliament Square as they head towards the finish of the 155 km third stage of the 101st edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 7, 2014, between Cambridge and London. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Spectators watch as riders enter Parliament Square heading towards the finish of the 155 km third stage of the 101st edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 7, 2014, between Cambridge and London. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Crowds cheer as cyclists competing in the Tour de France pass through Parliament Square at the end of the race's third stage on July 7, 2014 in London, England. The first three stages of the Tour de France have taken place in England. After traveling through Yorkshire on the first two days, today's stage runs from Cambridge to London, finishing on The Mall. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Britain's Christopher Froome waits at the departure village in Cambridge prior to the start of the 155 km third stage of the 101st edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 7, 2014 between Cambridge and London, southwestern England. AFP PHOTO / JEFF PACHOUD (Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)
CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Race leader Vincenzo Nibali (l) of Italy and the Astana Pro Team chats to Peter Sagan of the Czech Republic and Cannondale at the start of the third stage of the 2014 Tour de France, a 155km stage between Cambridge and London, on July 7, 2014 in Cambridge, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Marcel Kittel (C) of Germany and Team Giant-Shimano sprints to victory in stage three of the 2014 Le Tour de France from Cambridge to London on July 7, 2014 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Marcel Kittel (C) of Germany and Team Giant-Shimano sprints to victory in stage three of the 2014 Le Tour de France from Cambridge to London on July 7, 2014 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Crowds cheer as cyclists competing in the Tour de France pass through Parliament Square at the end of the race's third stage on July 7, 2014 in London, England. The first three stages of the Tour de France have taken place in England. After traveling through Yorkshire on the first two days, today's stage runs from Cambridge to London, finishing on The Mall. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Italy's Vincenzo Nibali (3rdR) wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey and Spain's Alberto Contador (C) ride in the pack during the 155 km third stage of the 101st edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 7, 2014 between Cambridge and London, southwestern England. AFP PHOTO / JEFF PACHOUD (Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Peter Sagan of Slovakia and Cannondale takes the podium after defending the best young rider's white jersey in stage three of the 2014 Le Tour de France from Cambridge to London on July 7, 2014 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Germany's Marcel Kittel (L) celebrates as he crosses the finish line ahead of Slovakia's Peter Sagan (R) at the end of the 155 km third stage of the 101st edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 7, 2014 between Cambridge and London, southwestern England. AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
France's Cyril Lemoine (L) wearing the best climber's polka dot jersey, and Italy's Vincenzo Nibali (C) wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey and Slovakia's Peter Sagan wearing the best sprinter's green jersey wait at the departure village in Cambridge prior to the start of the 155 km third stage of the 101st edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 7, 2014 between Cambridge and London, southwestern England. AFP PHOTO / JEFF PACHOUD (Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)
Amateur cyclists are pictured in front of the gate of the 'Fan Park' at the Green Park in London, on July 7, 2014, during the 155 km third stage of the 101st edition of the Tour de France cycling race between Cambridge and London, southwestern England. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
Amateur cyclists are pictured in front of the gate of the 'Fan Park' at the Green Park in London, on July 7, 2014, during the 155 km third stage of the 101st edition of the Tour de France cycling race between Cambridge and London, southwestern England. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
YORK, ENGLAND - JULY 06: Mikel Nieve of Spain and Team Sky ride looks on at the racecourse during stage one of the 2014 Tour de France from Leeds to Harrogate on July 6, 2014 in York, United Kingdom. (Photo by Scott Mitchell/teamsky.com via Getty Images)
People looks at the 155 km third stage of the 101st edition of the Tour de France cycling race on a giant screen at the 'Fan Park' at the Green Park in London, on July 7, 2014 between Cambridge and London, southwestern England. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION


By Jamey Keaten

LILLE, France (AP) - Marcel Kittel sprinted to his third stage victory at the Tour de France on Tuesday, while defending champion Chris Froome had a scare in a crash that scuffed up his left side and wrist before a tough day ahead on cobblestones.

Astana team leader Vincenzo Nibali of Italy, who kept the yellow jersey, decried a "crazy race" in the 163.5-kilometer (101-mile) Stage 4 along the Belgian border as cycling's big event entered France after a wildly popular three-day start in England.

Unlike his wins in Stages 1 and 3, when he made victory look easy, Kittel eked out victory by a half-wheel length at the end of the ride from Le Touquet-Paris Plage to Lille Metropole.

Kittel, of the Giant-Shimano team, didn't celebrate this time but panted and, instead, it was runner-up Alexander Kristoff of Norway who swatted the air in frustration after being pipped at the line by the barreling German. French rider Arnaud Demare was third.

After a difficult day because of crosswinds and jumpy nerves in the peloton, Kittel said of his seventh career Tour stage win, "It's never easy ... (I was) lucky just enough at the finish line."

Froome, the Team Sky leader, fell early in the stage after a rider bumped another into the Briton's front wheel. He got up, got bandaged, and got back to the pack. Afterward, team boss Dave Brailsford said Froome would undergo X-rays as a precaution.

Slovak star Peter Sagan also went down in a spill, and he too recovered to finish.

"It was a crazy race," said Nibali, describing how his team informed him through his earpiece about Froome's mishap, and went back to see whether he was OK. Froome responded, "more or less," according to the Italian. Froome went straight into the team bus and didn't speak to reporters after the stage.

He skinned up his left knee, left elbow and hurt his left wrist in the crash, and was treated by race doctor Florence Pommerie before rejoining the peloton. She told French TV the injuries were mostly superficial and amounted to "essentially a few scratches."

Froome and two-time champ Alberto Contador are among 20 riders who trail Nibali by two seconds.

An aching wrist could mean pain ahead for Froome. The peloton rolls over nine patches of bumpy cobblestones on Wednesday, which could make for a joint-jarring ride and prevent him from keeping his hands on the handlebars.

Many race experts believe Wednesday's 155.5 kilometers (97 miles) from Ypres, Belgium, to Arenberg Port du Hainaut, France, could offer the first big shakeout among the contenders because of the treacherous cobblestones.

"Tomorrow, we just have to make it through the day," Nibali said. "Let's hope it's not raining."

Before the fourth stage, 2010 winner Andy Schleck dropped out because of a crash injury a day earlier. On Sunday, British sprinter Mark Cavendish quit the race after crashing in the final sprint in Stage 1 and damaging his right shoulder.

Kittel has already acknowledged that his job is easier without Cavendish in the race. The Giant-Shimano rider is not a threat for the yellow jersey: Kittel is not a good climber, and lost nearly 20 minutes to Nibali in an up-and-down Stage 2.

Read Full Story

People are Reading