Kittel Sprints to Victory in Stage 1 of Tour de France
Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) has drawn first blood at the Tour de France 2013. The German took a bunch sprint after a chaotic finale to win Stage 1, a flat, 213-km run from Porto Vecchio to Bastia, Corsica in 4:56:52. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) finished second, and Danny Van Poppel (Vacansoleil-DCM) took third.
overnight as well.
As is to be expected, Kittel was elated with his victory. “Today is a dream come true,” the Argos-Shimano man said. “We’ve been very eager to win a stage in this Tour de France. Starting in the winter, we prepared ourselves for this, and to win the first stage today and wear the yellow jersey tomorrow is just unbelievable.
“I am really proud of all my teammates, who did an amazing job today. They worked throughout the whole day to keep me in good position and to protect me. The finale was very hectic, but the guys stayed calm, and they knew exactly what to do—just like we trained for. They reorganized after the crash and took responsibility. We trained mentally and physically for this kind of situation, and together with the knowledge that we had of this course this helped us stay relaxed, and we followed our plan.
“I am so happy that we achieved this victory for the team as well. They gave me the chance to become a professional cyclist and developed me into the sprinter that I am today. I couldn’t hope for a better thank you.”
The entire field received the same finish time. Kittel leads Kristoff and Van Poppel. Stage 2 of the 2013 Tour de France will be more challenging than today’s. The 156-km ride from Bastia to Ajaccio, Napoleon’s birthplace, will feature the Category 3 Col de Bellagranajo and the Category 2 Col de la Serra and Col de Vizzavona between 70 km and 95.5 km. This will break up the field, and while the 30-plus-km downhill run might allow a regroupment, the Category 3 Cote du Salario at 144 km will allow an escape—if a decisive break does not occur on the earlier three climbs. Do not count on Kittel keeping his overall lead. Who will take it? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
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