Sky fall for Froome as Kittel takes his third stage win
Marcel Kittel sprinted to his third stage victory at the Tour de France yesterday, while defending champion Chris Froome had a scare in a crash.
Astana team leader Vincenzo Nibali of Italy, who kept the yellow jersey, decried a "crazy race" in the 163.5km Stage 4 along the Belgian border as cycling's big event entered France after a wildly popular three-day start in England.
Unlike his wins in Stages 1 and 3, when he made victory look easy, Kittel eked out victory by a half-wheel length at the end of the ride from Le Touquet-Paris Plage to Lille Metropole.
Giant Shimano's Kittel pipped Alexander Kristoff of Norway, who swatted the air in frustration after falling to the barrelling German at the line. French rider Arnaud Demare was third.
Froome, the Team Sky leader, fell early in the stage after a rider bumped another into the Briton's front wheel. However, he was able to return to the pack. Afterward, team boss Dave Brailsford said Froome would undergo X-rays as a precaution.