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Marcel Kittel in Tears After He wins Stage Two of Le Tour

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July 2, 2017 – German Marcel Kittel broke down in tears after winning his 10th Tour de France stage in Liege on Sunday. Reigning champion Chris Froome suffered a scare on the 203.5km second stage from Dusseldorf, crashing 30km from the end but he got up to finish safely in the peloton, alongside race leader Geraint Thomas. Frenchman Arnaud Demare was second and German Andre Greipel third in the bunch sprint, with Briton Mark Cavendish fourth as he challenged for a 31st stage win.

AFP / Image: James Startt

“I don’t know what to say… It was an incredible start in Germany with so many people,” said an emotional Kittel. “Great! I’m super happy, super proud because it was for me a very special win today after we had the Grand Depart in Germany.”

Tony Martin after crashing with 30km to go. – Image: Yuzuru Sunada

But the main drama happened 30km from the finish as the peloton chased down a four-man breakaway. A rider from the Katusha team trying to set up Alexander Kristoff for the finish slipped on a wet bend and crashed, taking down around 15-20 riders. Froome and yellow jersey wearer Thomas were among them, with the champion suffering cuts to his lower back and seeing his shorts shredded. He got back on his bicycle to chase the peloton but was forced into a bike change before finally latching back onto the pack with 20km left. Thomas seemed unscathed and maintained his five-second lead over Swiss Stefan Kung, although Marcel Kittel, who hit 69.19kph in the sprint finish according to official Tour data, is now up to third overall at 6sec after taking a 10-second time bonus on the line.

“No injury. I just lost a bit of skin on my backside,” Chris Froome told ITV. “That’s the nature of the race, in slippery conditions and at those speeds you can’t avoid it. I’m so happy to get to the finish without losing any time to my rivals.”

His Sky team-mate and race leader Geraint Thomas also went down in that crash but recovered quickly to get to the finish and retain his hold on the yellow jersey.

“It’s all good, it’s a nice bonus to keep the jersey for another day,” said Thomas. “We were in a good position when me and Froomey crashed, in the top 10 or 15. A few guys went down in front of us and there was nowhere to go. So we hit the deck but just kind of slid. No damage at all, it took off a bit of skin but all good.”

Australian contender Richie Porte was another to crash, but he said he escaped the worst of it. “I’m ok, theres a few guys that went down quite a lot harder. I fortunately landed on top of them,” said the BMC team leader.

Kittel’s stage victory meant he took the sprinter’s green points jersey as well, while American Taylor Phinney, who was in the breakaway, claimed all the king of the mountain points available and will wear the polkadot jersey on Monday.

“Our leadout wasn’t perfect but other leadouts weren’t either,” said the burly German, who wept with joy after crossing the line. “I tried to do my best but all sprinters were on their own today.”

The king of the mountains polkadot jersey, which was claimed by American Taylor Phinney after he spent more than 200km in the day’s breakaway. And the 27-year-old time-trial specialist revealed the experience had made him feel like he was part of a novel by surrealist author Haruki Murakami.

“Honestly, I feel like I’m in some sort of strange dream — I felt that way pretty early on,” he said. “We probably passed over a million people today. You think, ‘where am I, what are all these people doing?’ I’ve been reading Murakami so the borderlines between dream and reality are a little blurry right now.”

The third stage on Monday is a lumpy one of more than 210km with a short climb to the finish which will favor punchy riders rather than pure sprinters.

Look for more details, images and results soon.