Tour de France: Marcel Kittel says stage three win was one of fastest sprints of his career
By Matt Westby in London. Last Updated: 08/07/14 6:40am
Marcel Kittel claimed his sixth Tour de France stage win in London
Marcel Kittel claimed his victory on stage three of the Tour de France in London was one of the fastest sprints he has ever produced.
The 26-year-old underlined his status as the No 1 sprinter in the world by powering to his second stage win of this year's race and sixth at the Tour in total with a blistering show of speed.
Peter Sagan appeared to have been in the perfect position just behind the German entering the finishing straight on The Mall, but rather than drag the Slovakian along in his slipstream, Kittel simply surged away from him.
He said afterwards: “This was one of the fastest sprints I have ever done. My job was 500m long, but the biggest fight was already over. My boys had done a great job before that."
As good as Paris
Kittel likened the victory to his win on the Champs-Elysées on the final stage of last year’s Tour, but insisted the manner of his triumph did not mean he would continue to dominate the race’s flat stages.
He also insisted that his chances of adding to his tally of stage wins has not been enhanced by the withdrawal from the race of key rival Mark Cavendish.
Kittel added: “Emotionally, this win is close to the one I got on the Champs-Elysées in Paris last year. Winning on The Mall, that is what I dreamed of, but even though I had a good chance to make it come true, it's not something I could take for granted. It's really fantastic to win here.
"The crowd was exceptional. It was another crazy day because of the number of fans we have seen. It was marvellous to watch all those people smiling on the road side."
“There is still plenty of competition - Andre Greipel, Arnaud Demare, Peter Sagan. That was a perfect finish for me but on another stage, with a little bit of uphill in the final kilometre, maybe it will be different.”
Another man smiling at the finish line was Vincenzo Nibali, who safely retained the leader’s yellow jersey on the race’s final day in England.
The Italian has dedicated winning the jersey on stage two to the people of England and after hordes of fans once again lined the roadsides of the entire route, he reiterated his praise for the turnout.
Nibali said: “The crowd was exceptional. It was another crazy day because of the number of fans we have seen. It was marvellous to watch all those people smiling on the road side.
“London has welcomed us extraordinarily well, but we kind of expected that after what we experienced in the first two days [in Yorkshire].”