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Marcel Kittel Wins Stage 6 of 2017 Tour de France Ahead of Arnaud Demare

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJuly 6, 2017

Germany's Marcel Kittel celebrates as he crosses the finish line ahead of Germany's Andre Greipel (L) AND Norway's Alexander Kristoff during the 216 km sixth stage of the 104th edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 6, 2017 between Vesoul and Troyes. / AFP PHOTO / Jeff PACHOUD        (Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)
JEFF PACHOUD/Getty Images

Marcel Kittel won stage six of the 2017 Tour de France after a perfectly timed late sprint in Troyes on Thursday.

The Quick-Step Floors rider recorded his 11th stage win on the Tour after finishing ahead of Green Jersey holder Arnaud Demare and Lotto Soudal's Andre Greipel.

Here are the results from today's stage, per ITV Cycling:

ITV Cycling @itvcycling

Here are the results from Stage 6 of @LeTour https://t.co/fwEoXGumUI

Meanwhile, Team Sky's Chris Froome retained the Yellow Jersey after a controlled ride, per the same source:

ITV Cycling @itvcycling

No change in the General Classification after Stage 6 of @LeTour #itvtour https://t.co/QO6J9gnxoi

A three-rider break comprised of Direct Energie rider Perrig Quemeneur, Frederik Backaert of Wanty-Groupe Gobert and Norwegian Vegard Stake Laengen led the way almost from the start, pulling to the front after the initial kilometre.

The close, warm weather meant the peloton was content to let this trio hold the lead for long periods. However, the gap was cut to just over 90 seconds with around 36 kilometres to go.

It was over two minutes entering the final 25 kilometres as the three leaders strove to maintain their edge.

Meanwhile, the weather was threatening to influence the finish at Troyes, according to Julien Pretot of Reuters:

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Julien Prétot @julienpretotRTR

a few drops of rain here at the finish in Troyes #tdf2017

Riders were beginning to move into position for a decisive final sprint, although the general classification leaders were still maintaining a notably steady pace. Yellow Jersey wearer Froome sat in the middle of the peloton, with team-mate Geraint Thomas a little further ahead.

Green Jersey holder Demare also appeared content to save himself for the final sprint. At least Demare and Co. were keeping the break in sight, with the gap down to 33 seconds just ahead of the final 12 kilometres.

Quick-Step Floors rider Julien Vermote was at the front of the chase, while other teams still worked to set up their sprints.

Team Sky showed how their riders had rallied around Froome:

Team Sky @TeamSky

Just 12km to go and we're heading for Troyes and a bunch sprint. @TeamSky will be looking to stay out of trouble on the run-in #TDF2017 https://t.co/ac8fp23joR

The big names in the peloton may have been looming, but the three in the break still wouldn't relinquish their lead, even though the advantage had been cut to 23 seconds inside the final 10 kilometres.

It wasn't until there were three kilometres left the break was finally caught, as Edvald Boasson Hagen led a sprint by Dimension Data. The sprint was now set, with Boasson Hagen, Demare, Greipel and Kittel all making the late surge.

ITV Cycling relayed highlights of the frantic finish:

ITV Cycling @itvcycling

Marcel Kittel wins his second stage of @LeTour as he beats Demare in sprint finish - Reaction on @ITV4 https://t.co/8j1ZVrWwzz

Despite coming from deep, the latter timed his sprint perfectly with around 200 metres to go. The German edged out Demare to earn his 11th stage win.

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