Kittel wins sixth stage of Tour de France

Searing heat slowed the pace on stage six of the Tour de France, where Marcel Kittel took the honours.

Germany's Marcel Kittel celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France.   -  AP

Marcel Kittel withstood punishing heat to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France as leader Chris Froome and his general classification rivals emerged unscathed.

As the Tour made its way on a 216-kilometre route from Vesoul to Troyes in temperatures that slowed the average speed, it was Kittel who had the energy and power to reach the line first.

A gutsy three-man breakaway from Perrig Quemeneur, Vegard Stake Laengen and Frederik Backaert was overhauled late on, with Quick-Step Floors rider Kittel edging out home hope Arnaud Demare (FDJ) and German compatriot Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) to win his second stage of this year's race.

With renowned fellow sprinters Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish having been ruled out of the race, Kittel will have his sights set on the points classification that has been dominated by the Slovak.

In a stage featuring two category-four climbs, breakaway rider Quemeneur took the honours on both summits for Direct Energie.

At the end of it all, Team Sky's Froome remains in yellow.

 

GOOD DAY/BAD DAY

Kittel looked to be struggling in the final dash for the line as he failed to grab a wheel, but an 11th Tour stage win was secured in typically explosive fashion to mark a good day for the 29-year-old.

Sprint surpuissant de @marcelkittel pour une 11e victoire sur le Tour / Great sprint from Kittel to take his 11th victory! #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/P2Marrejnb

— Le Tour de France (@LeTour) July 6, 2017

The controversy that unfolded on stage four when Sagan's elbow knocked Cavendish off his bike ultimately sent both home, leaving Kittel in a strong position claim the green jersey.

It was a tough day, though, for the three-man breakaway and perhaps most of all for Laengen, who was named the most aggressive rider at the end of the stage.

The UAE Team Emirates man deserved to be in the thick of the action in the closing stretch, but an energy-sapping day of leading from the front took its toll as he finished way down in the bunch.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) 5:05.34
2. Arnaud Demare (FDJ) +00s
3. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) +00s
4. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha Alpecin) +00s
5. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) +00s

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Chris Froome 23:44.33 (Team Sky)
2. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) +12s
3. Fabio Aru (Astana) +14s

POINTS CLASSIFICATION

1. Arnaud Demare (FDJ) 170 points
2. Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) 143 points
3. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) 96 points

KING OF THE MOUNTAINS

1. Fabio Aru (Astana) 10 points
2. Daniel Martin (Quick-Step Floors) 8 points
3. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 6 points