Kittel sprints to Vuelta win
Chavanel retains his lead on general classification
Last Updated: 30/08/11 9:10am
Kittel: Underlined he's a sprinter to watch with victory in Talavera de la Reina
Marcel Kittel (Skil-Shimano) claimed his first Grand Tour success when winning a crash-strewn finish to stage seven of the Vuelta a Espana.
The neo-pro has been on an astonishing run of form in recent weeks, with multiple wins at the Tour of Poland just before the final Grand Tour of the season, but this was easily his biggest triumph to date.
He edged out Peter Sagan (Liquigas) and Oscar Freire (Rabobank) at the end of the 187.6 kilometres stage from Almaden to Talavera de la Reina, just as a huge pile-up was taking place behind.
Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) was the first rider to hit the deck and that caused a domino effect as the bulk of the peloton was brought to a standstill.
Happening so late in the stage saw everyone credited with the same time and it means that Sylvain Chavanel (Quick-Step) continues to lead the overall standings by 15 seconds from Daniel Moreno (Katusha), with Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) a further second back in third.
The stage had earlier seen a four-man breakaway - comprising Cofidis pair Julien Fouchard and Luis Ángel Maté plus Antonio Cabello (Andalucia) and Steve Houanard (AG2R) - which opened up a gap of nine minutes at one point.
However they were reeled in without too much fuss as Chavanel's Quick-Step team controlled the peloton, the catch coming inside the final 15km.
That set up what should have been a bunch sprint only for the late crashes to decimate the field.