London: Marcel Kittel celebrated winning what he called an "awesome" Tour de France stage in front of Buckingham Palace as he emphasised his status as the best sprinter in the world yesterday.
Germany's Marcel Kittel celebrates as he crosses the finish line at the end of the 155 km third stage of the Tour de France. Pic/AFP
The 26-year-old German won his second stage out of three at this year's Grand Boucle as he proved too strong for the sprint competition on the 155km stage from sunny Cambridge to wet London.
"It was awesome, I'm really happy I could win this stage in front of Buckingham Palace. There were amazing crowds, great scenery, the team did a really good job which was a great advertisement for our lead-out train," said Kittel.
Without former world champion and 25-time Tour stage winner Mark Cavendish for competition, Kittel looked in a class of his own. Cavendish crashed on the finish to the first stage in Harrogate on Saturday and dislocated his collarbone, withdrawing from the race before the start of Sunday's second stage from York.
Kittel admitted Cavendish's absence made his job easier. "That's one big opponent that's not in the race anymore. Of course it changes things for me and also the team. We have to take it into account for the next few stages," said the German.