Greener BeeGreen TipsIs the battle for the Tour’s green jersey over?

When Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) was controversially expelled from the 2017 Tour de France, it seemed as if the battle for the points classification had been thrown wide open. Sagan had won green for each of the past five years, and was the unbackable favourite to do so again, but his expulsion on stage 4 meant other riders now had a realistic chance. But six stages later, the battle for green appears to be a one-horse race once more.

On Tuesday’s stage 10, Marcel Kittel (QuickStep Floors) galloped to his fourth stage win of the Tour so far, putting several bike lengths between himself and his rivals. It was another commanding performance from the big German, and one that further extended his lead in the fight for green.

Prior to stage 10, Kittel had sat 52 points clear of his nearest rival, Michael Matthews (Sunweb). After taking fourth in the stage 10 intermediate sprint, and winning the stage, Kittel’s lead is now 102 points. Despite his strong lead, the charismatic fastman is far from convinced he’s got the green jersey sewn up.

“Basically I look at the green jersey classification as by far not decided because one missed chance, getting sick —Arnaud Demare is maybe the best example — can destroy everything that happened before,” Kittel said. “I think it’s very important to see it day by day and to focus on … getting points at the intermediates and at the end of the sprint stages. Even on Stage 20 something can go wrong, or on Stage 21, and I personally prefer to act like I don’t have the green jersey on my shoulders at the moment because we saw also two days ago for the GC guys the race can be very quickly over.”

Matthews yelled out in frustration when he crossed the line and later had his head bowed for several minutes at the team bus, prompting Nikias Arndt to come over and console his Australian teammate. Speaking to the press a short time later, Matthews described himself as “devastated” and expressed his disappointment in the Sunweb lead-out train.

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