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Kittel claims stage win after the closest of photo finishes

Marcel Kittel's first Tour de France stage win in two years came by the narrowest of margins on a day when Mark Cavendish found himself completely squeezed out in Limoges.

The ninth Tour stage win of Kittel's career was only confirmed after officials checked the photo as he beat Bryan Coquard by just a few millimetres.

Peter Sagan came home in third to retain the yellow jersey, but there was disappointment for Cavendish as he became separated from his team-mates and found himself boxed out before coming over the line in eighth.

Kittel wore yellow with opening stage victories in 2013 and 2014, but missed the 2015 Tour in a season wrecked by illness. Though he had to wait for confirmation of his win here, once it came so did tears.

"The victory means a lot. I know how hard I worked to get back after being sick so many times last year and missing out on the Tour," the 28-year-old German said

Chris Froome finished 37th on the day, and after bonus seconds were applied he sits in fifth place overall, 18 seconds off Sagan in yellow just ahead of the first notable uphill tests of this Tour.

Today's stage five, covering 216km from Limoges to Le Lioran, takes the race into the Massif Central, with a total of six categorised climbs, including three category threes and two category twos.

Belfast Telegraph

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