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Tour de France: Marcel Kittel claims fifth victory in stage 11

Marcel Kittel has won back-to-back stages in the Tour de France, outsprinting the field on the final stretch of the 11th stage. He now has five stage wins in this year's Tour de France.

A day after besting Erik Zabel's German record for career stage wins, Marcel Kittel sprinted to victory again on Wednesday in the 11th stage of the Tour de France, a 203.5-kilometer (126.4-mile) stretch from Eymet to Pau in southwestern France.

Dylan Groenewegen of the Netherlands and Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway rounded out the top three in the stage. Tour leader Chris Froome finished with the main pack to retain the yellow jersey ahead of two hard days in the Pyrenees Mountains.

Kittel extended his lead in the points classification as a result. Kittel has lost only one sprint since the start of the Tour and has been head and shoulders above the competition since Mark Cavendish and Arnaud Demare departed the race.

Bardet hits the deck

Tour riders have called Wednesday's stage a "transition day" before grueling ascents into the Pyrenees Mountains the next two days. But the stage was much more stressful for some with some crashes at the back of the pelaton.

Frenchman Romain Bardet, third overall in the tour and last year's runner up, wiped out during the stage and slightly hurt his knee. He was able to continue after switching bicycles.

Two-time champion Alberto Contador of Spain, currently 12th overall also hit the deck with less than 20 kilometers to go. Additionally, Denmark's Jakob Fuglsang, who is expected to play a key role alongside second place Astana teammate Fabio Aru, fell and hurt his wrist.

dv (AP, Reuters)

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