Kittel sprints to stage two win, Froome and Thomas involved in big pile-up

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Marcel Kittel sprinted to victory on a dramatic stage two of the Tour de France, while Chris Froome picked himself up following a big crash and Geraint Thomas retained the yellow jersey despite also hitting the deck.

German Kittel was reduced to tears after coming out on top in a chaotic end, the Quick-Step Floors rider taking his 10th stage win on the 203.5 kilometres route from Dusseldorf in his homeland to Liege.

Defending champion Froome, stage one winner Thomas and last year's runner-up Romain Bardet were among around 20 riders to go down in a pile-up in testing conditions due to heavy rain around 30 kilometres from the finish.

Team Sky's Froome, with ripped shorts, changed his bike soon after and was guided back into the peloton by Michal Kwiatkowski, while Thomas and Bardet also returned to the pack.

Tour debutants Thomas Boudat (Direct Energie), Taylor Phinney (Cannondale-Drapac), Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Laurent Pichon (Fortuneo-Oscaro) broke away from the gun.

Phinney and Offredo were 50 seconds ahead of the peloton with 13km to go, the dramatic pile-up playing into their hands, but they were reeled in with the sun out just over a kilometre from the end.

And it was Kittel who had the pace to see off Arnaud Demare, Andre Greipel, Mark Cavendish and Dylan Groenewegen.

 

GOOD DAY / BAD DAY

Kittel came out of the bunch to outpace his sprint rivals to strike an early blow, while Cavendish should also be more than happy, having only recently recovered from glandular fever.

Froome, Thomas and Bardet were among a whole host of men who could have done nothing to prevent going down on a slick surface after a Katusha rider lost control of his front wheel.

Luke Durbridge (Orica-Scott) crashed on stage one and became the third rider to quit the Tour due to an ankle injury following Alejandro Valverde and Ion Izagirre's withdrawals on Saturday.

STAGE RESULT

1. Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) 4:37:06
2. Arnaud Demare (FDJ)
3. Andre Griepel (Lotto Soudal)
4. Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data)
5. Dylan Groenewegen (Lotto NL - Jumbo)

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) 4:53.10
2. Stefan Kueng (BMC Racing) +0:05s
3. Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) +0.06s

POINTS CLASSIFICATION

1. Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) 63 points
2. Arnaud Demare (FDJ) 38 points
3. Andre Griepel (Lotto Soudal) 25 points

KING OF THE MOUNTAINS

1. Taylor Phinney (Cannondale-Drapac) 2 points
 

NEXT UP...

Stage three will see the riders head on a 212.5km route from Verviers to Longwy on Monday.

There will be five categorised climbs to encounter, the toughest being the Cote d'Eschdorf in Luxembourg just over halfway through the stage before a 1.6km ascent of the Cote des Religieuses to the finish.