Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Kittel Delivers Another Blow to Cavendish; TOUR DE FRANCE

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Kittel Delivers Another Blow to Cavendish; TOUR DE FRANCE

Article excerpt

MARK Cavendish's frustrating Tour de France continued as he watched German powerhouse Marcel Kittel roar past him to win stage 12 by half a wheel in Tours.

In the past few days Cavendish has been sprayed with urine by a spectator and had a Dutch rival Tom Veelers calling for his disqualification, but he looked ready to put all that behind him as his Omega Pharma-Quick Step team delivered him to the front on the final stretch in Tours.

The last thing he needed to see was Veelers' team-mate Kittel steaming past but Cavendish could only look on in surprise as the German collected his third stage win of the Tour.

"When you get beaten like that you can look at it over and over again, but I'm just disappointed that I let down my team-mates," Cavendish said.

"At the end of the day I didn't do anything wrong, my team didn't do anything wrong. We were beaten by a better guy."

Cavendish had already described Kittel as "the real deal" after watching the 25-year-old take the yellow jersey on the opening day and follow it up with victory on stage 10 to Saint-Malo - just as Cavendish was colliding with Veelers behind.

But the extent of the threat Kittel poses to Cavendish's status as the best sprinter in the world had never been seen so clearly as when he came from a bike-and-a-half's length down to claim victory yesterday.

Peter Sagan, who leads Cavendish by 96 points in the battle for the green jersey, crossed in third, while Chris Froome was in close attendance in the yellow jersey as he retained his three minute and 25 second lead in the general classification.

Cavendish had been looking in feisty mood yesterday, and for the first time in this Tour he led his green jersey rivals through the intermediate sprint, sixth overall as a fiveman breakaway had gone up the road early on. …

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