Kittel and Froome bask in Tour milestones

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While professional cycling was always the dream, Marcel Kittel says he never imagined becoming one of Germany's most successful riders after claiming his 13th Tour de France stage victory on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old Quick-Step Floors sprinter timed his late push perfectly to claim a flat run from Perigueux to Bergerac, his fourth stage win of this year's race seeing him retain a firm grip on the green jersey as points classification leader.

Getting across the line ahead of John Degenkolb and Dylan Groenewegen makes Kittel the German with the most Tour stage triumphs, pulling clear of Erik Zabel.

"It's an incredible amount of Tour de France stages, and to win four in one Tour is amazing," Kitttel said. 

"Of course, it means something to me. I've won so many stages in the Tour and I never expected that when I started my career. I dreamed of being a professional but to be at this level is incredible. I feel like I live in a small little bubble. 

"I saw that [Daniel] McLay started to sprint very early to come to the front, and that was my lead-out. I feel really good in the sprint at the moment and the power was there."

There also a landmark for Chris Froome, who led the general classification for the 50th time in his career and was relieved to avoid a repeat of the chaos that claimed team-mate Geraint Thomas and rival Richie Porte on Sunday.

"It's nice after a rest day for things to not be so crazy again," he said.

"Nice stages to tick off now. I guess, [I] just [need to] regain a bit of energy before we hit the Pyrenees. Tomorrow should be another sprint day. Everyone's waiting to see what the weather's going to be like. That could play a part. 

"Otherwise it should be a straightforward sprint day before we hit the Pyrenees the day afterwards. The race is still very close, very open, and there is a lot of racing to come."