Five-star Kittel upper in crash-spoiled 11th stage of Tour de France

Emilio Banks
July 14, 2017

Race leader Chris Froome admitted that Tuesday's 10th stage had been the calmest of this year's race - perhaps of any Tour he'd taken part in - but he's expecting something entirely different on Wednesday.

Kittel's searing acceleration again proved too much at the end of the crash-plagued 203.5km run from Eymet, flying past Dylan Groenewegen and Edvald Boasson Hagen to strike what is become a familiar winning salute.

He won by a bike's length and had plenty of time to raise his arms in celebration before crossing the line.

Double defending champion Chris Froome retained his general classification lead as there was no change in the fight for the yellow jersey.

New Zealand rider George Bennett has kept his spot in the top 10 for another day, the Nelson cyclist remains in 10th, 3 minutes and 53 seconds behind Froome.

Three-time victor and defending champion Froome stayed clear of trouble, but admitted the incidents made for a more stressful day.

He also holds a likely insurmountable lead in the green jersey points competition, with a total of 335 so far, 133 ahead of Australia's Michael Matthews.

"There are only two uphill finishes it's going to really be one of the key stages to this year's race", added Froome.

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"The last 20km was my best time trial but I'm not happy about today - I can be happy about my legs but not about the result".

Aru, the Italian champion and 2015 Spanish Vuelta victor, leads the list followed closely by last year's runner-up Romain Bardet, the Frenchman who is third overall, 51 seconds back.

It was noticeable to see John Degenkolb's Trek-Segafredo team use social media to describe Kittel as "unbeatable" moments after the race finished, but even if his rivals believe it, Kittel dismissed the idea.

"Most of you know me and know that I am quite optimistic, but now the priority is to recover and, if I do it, try to do the best I can", Contador told journalists on Monday.

Wednesday's stage was supposed to be what Tour riders call a "transition" day, an easier ride that took them to the gateway to the Pyrenees mountains ahead of two hard days of grueling ascents. I think the last games I always got the right gaps and never made a mistake.

"I have mixed feelings about that day", Froome said.

Riders face five categorized climbs in the Pyrenees over 133 miles.

"In the past, we have seen Grand Tours shaped by these stages before", he said.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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