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Tour de France stage 4: Kittel bags a triple

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Tour de France stage 4: Kittel bags a triple
The sprint king Marcel Kittel won his third stage of the 2014 Tour de France on Tuesday. There's only been four so far. Photo: Eric Feferberg/AFP
17:44 CEST+02:00
Germany's Marcel Kittel sprinted home to win stage four of the Tour de France on Tuesday and in doing so the giant German picked up his third stage win of the 2014 so far. Chris Froome had crashed earlier in the race.

Sprint king Marcel Kittel won his third Tour de France stage out of four on Tuesday after claiming the fourth stage from Le Touquet to Lille.

The burly German continued his domination of the sprints although he was run far closer than previously by Norwegian Alexander Kristoff in second and Frenchman Arnaud Demare in third.

Having won four stages on last year's Tour, the imperious Kittel is only one more victory away from matching that within the Grand Boucle's first week.

And he did so this time despite his Giant-Shimano team failing to control the run-in the way they had for his victories on Saturday and Monday.

But without 25-time Tour stage winner Mark Cavendish, who left the race on Sunday morning with a separated shoulder, Kittel has been in a class of his own.

On what was mostly a calm day, there was a scare for reigning Tour champion Chris Froome who crashed inside the first 5km on his left side.

He suffered grazes down his left side to his thigh and elbow while he also hurt his wrist.

He was given a splint for his left wrist while his left thigh and right hand also sported strapping following a trip back to the medical car.

Race doctor Florence Pommerie told France Televisions that the champion's wounds were superficial.

"They're essentially a few scratches, but that's got to hurt nevertheless. He also hurt his wrist, but we'll have to wait and see how it goes," he said.

Froome's left thigh was strapped up and he was given a bandage for his right hand, while he was later seen flexing his left hand as well.

The crash took down several other riders, including Dutch outsider for the overall victory Bauke Mollema of Belkin.

More to follow

Here's a video preview of stage four.

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