• Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep) was not very happy about the final metres of Stage 14 (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Sprint ace Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep) threw an arm up in discord at Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) at the end of stage 14 of the Tour de France.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
17 Jul 2016 - 8:09 AM 

Kittel was clear in his frustration right before the finish line and later outside the Etixx-QuickStep team bus where he intimated Cavendish had sprinted irregularly and spoiled his chance of victory. 

“I started my sprint at 250 or 220 at the bottom of the right-hand turn, and once I was in front, I saw Cavendish coming by and as soon as he passed me he went to the right. I had to brake to avoid a crash,” Kittel said.

“I think he can clearly do better than that.”

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Opportunities for the fast-men at the Tour are now slim and the fact was not lost on the German, who in a return from sustained illness last season has been especially motivated at the race he has claimed one stage at this month so far.

“I want to say that my team did a really good job leading me out, bringing me to the final and controlling the race. I’m very proud of that. We talked about it yesterday. That’s something that’s also really important for me. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the result we wanted, it’s one of the last sprints now,” he said.

Cavendish hasn’t been the celebrated sprinter of the Tour de France for a few years now but has started with vengeance this season. The 31-year-old currently leads the 2016 stage tally with four victories to Kittel’s one and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), the man of note last year, yet to get on the board.

Speaking in a post-race press conference on Saturday, Cavendish, whose victory doubled as his career 30th, dismissed Kittel’s complaint. 

“Obviously I didn’t see it, I was in front of him,” he said with a laugh. “The first I knew about it was when I was waiting to do my flash interview and they were just taking a while. I don’t really, I saw it, I think obviously there is a coming together but if you look at him next to the barriers, I think it’s him that comes off the barriers more than anything.”

The race jury confirmed that Cavendish was the rightful winner of the stage and found no fault in his sprint toward the line.

"What happened, happened,” Kittel said later. "It is what it is. All I can say is that I think that the result we have on paper is not what it normally would be. And of course I'm very disappointed."

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