Marcel Kittel wins stage but loses hair gel

Not everything’s going Marcel Kittel’s way.

But other than that, he’s having a fine old time. Kittel notched his second win out of the three British stages in London, echoing the two out of three he won in Northern Ireland at the start of the Giro.

Back then, I asked: Have you got used to Marcel Kittel finishing first in this year’s Giro yet? Apparently this was tempting fate because he promptly abandoned the race. Currently, that seems the only thing that might stop him.

So is Kittel in the green jersey now?

No, he isn’t. Two wins have earned him 90 points, but Peter Sagan is on 117 because he’s scored on every stage. It would be a bit closer if Kittel actually bothered going for the intermediate sprints, but he doesn’t. He says he’s not here for the green jersey, only for stage wins.

This rather ruins the points competition. After three stages out of 21, it already seems like a cakewalk for Sagan. Also, in the absence of Mark Cavendish, Kittel seems to be far and away the best sprinter in the race, so there’s a certain lack of tension there too. Obviously, a lot can happen in the chaos of a bunch sprint, but if it’s a fair fight on a flattish road, I just can’t see how anyone can beat the German.

As they approached the line today, Sagan was right behind him, benefiting from drafting, but he didn’t even bother trying to get past. Sagan knew it was futile and so settled for hitching a lift to second place. It’s as good as a win, points-wise, when the guy ahead of you’s not going for the green jersey.

Anything else of note?

The Schlecks lost a minute. Andy crashed. Not sure what Frank’s excuse was.

Stage four

The Tour de Yorkshire finally arrives in France and will henceforth be rebranded Le Tour de France. It’ll never catch on.

Stage four features a couple of fairly nondescript climbs but not much else, so it should be another Marcel Kittel victory sprint finish. The good news is that quickly tiring of France, the route heads into Belgium for a bit. If it’s a bike race in Belgium, you’re allowed to drink Belgian beer – even though it’s a Tuesday. Santé!