• Marcel Kittel was at 100 per cent for the Stage 10 sprint. (Getty)Source: Getty
Marcel Kittel (QuickStep Floors) reaffirmed his status as the king of the sprints in Stage 10, recording an imperious win in Bergeracfor his fourth victory of the 2017 edition of Tour de France.
By
Cycling Central

12 Jul 2017 - 1:55 AM  UPDATED 12 Jul 2017 - 5:29 PM

Kittel proved the strongest and the smartest in the final bunch dash to Bergerac, surfing the wheels of his rivals before powering clear in the final 200 metres to win the race comfortably. 

"I can't really believe it," said Kittel. "It's number four so it's an incredible amount of Tour de France stages and to win them all in one Tour... I'm so happy. The team worked again so hard and I'm just speechless."

Kittel found himself quite a long way back in the final stages of the stage but made up ground with seeming ease to win the stage.

"I think I had a pretty good spot. It was relatively far to go with 500 metres from the last corner. I saw that McClay started his sprint very early to get to the front and that was my lead out. From there on I hit the front from 220 (metres) and I think it's no surprise that I feel really good in the sprint and win number four was there."

Kittel was in a reflective mood after the stage, as with the win he became the most decorated German, in terms of stage wins at the Tour de France.

"I've won now so many stages of the Tour... I never expected that. I never expected to ride the Tour. I was dreaming at one point of maybe becoming a professional. That for me I would be at this level with these wins is hard for me to imagine. I feel like I live in a small little bubble, in a small little world that isn't true."

The general classification remained the same after the stage, despite a number of gaps forming in the peloton in the rush towards the finish line. Chris Froome (Team Sky) retained his yellow jersey and will be hoping for similarly straightforward days in the saddle for the upcoming stages.

Tour Leaders
Tadej POGAČAR
Tadej
POGAČAR
Mark CAVENDISH
Mark
CAVENDISH
Nairo QUINTANA
Nairo
QUINTANA
Tadej POGAČAR
Tadej
POGAČAR
View Overall Standings

As it happened

A sleepy 178km stage from Periguex to Bergerac was a welcome respite for the many riders nursing injuries after the first nine days of racing.

A two-man breakaway of Yoann Offredo (Wanty Groupe Gobert) and Elie Gesbert (Fortuneo-Oscaro) was allowed off the front of the peloton almost immediately after the flag dropped.

The duo was never allowed a big gap, peaking at five and half minutes before the peloton brought the attackers a bit closer. 

The two Category 4 climbs on the stage weren't major points of contention, but the intermediate sprint saw a full-blooded effort between the top contenders for the green jersey.

Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) signalled that his form is improving as he goes deeper into the Tour with his win in the bunch dash, taking out the most points with Marcel Kittel just behind. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) continued his push for green by claiming much-needed points, but his deficit to Kittel increased markedly by the end of the stage.

With the sprint teams sharing the work amongst them fairly equally to bring back the front two, it was clear that it would come down to a bunch dash in Bergerac.

The biggest controversy came as Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) and Jack Bauer (Quickstep Floors) appeared to clash as the lead outs battled in the final push for the finish. A bump from Bauer saw Bouhanni lash out, seemingly catching the New Zealander, no doubt it will be an incident that will be scrutinised closely by the commissaires.

Gaps in the peloton began to form on the run into the line as the peloton rounded some quite technical corners but with the new 3-second rule for gaps in sprint finish stages, no one of importance lost any time come the end of the stage.

The lead-outs ran out of steam coming into the final few hundred metres, the lack of pace allowing sprinters to come from well back. The best of these was Kittel, who swept around the outside to claim a dominant win, John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) following his slipstream to take second with Dylan Groenewegen (Lotto NL-Jumbo) in third.

Tour Leaders
Tadej POGAČAR
Tadej
POGAČAR
Mark CAVENDISH
Mark
CAVENDISH
Nairo QUINTANA
Nairo
QUINTANA
Tadej POGAČAR
Tadej
POGAČAR
View Overall Standings