Chris Froome makes it 50 yellow jerseys as Marcel Kittel wins his fourth Tour de France stage

Chris Froome makes it 50 yellow jerseys as Marcel Kittel wins his fourth Tour de France stage

Marcel Kittel has won a fourth stage of this year's Tour de France.

Dan Martin's Quick Step team-mate claimed the sprint into Bergerac this afternoon.

Team Sky's Chris Froome crossed the line safely in the pack, keeping the three-time Tour winner 18 seconds clear of Italian national champion Fabio Aru in the general classification.

Martin stays sixth on general classification, one minute and 44 seconds down on Froome.

Chris Froome makes it 50 yellow jerseys as Marcel Kittel wins his fourth Tour de France stage

It means Froome collected the 50th yellow jersey of his career after safely negotiating stage 10.

Kittel beat fellow German John Degenkolb of Trek-Segafredo in the sprint, strengthening his grip on the points leaders' green jersey.

That brought up Froome's half-century in yellow, putting him level with five-time Tour winner Jacques Anquetil, joint fourth overall.

Froome took yellow at the end of stage five to La Planche des Belle Filles, and is hoping to replicate his feat of keeping to the end of each Tour he has worn it in to date.

"It would certainly be sweeter if I am able to take this all the way to Paris," said Froome, who won the Tour in 2013, 2015 and 2016. "I was just told when I crossed the finish line that it's my 50th day in yellow. It's a huge, huge honour."

It was also a milestone victory for Kittel, who now has 13 career Tour stage victories, the most by a German rider in the race.

Kittel had been short of team-mates in the finale, but latched on to an attack by British sprinter Dan McLay as the line approached.

McLay had gone too soon for his own hopes of victory, but served as the perfect lead-out for Kittel.

"Maybe if it was a race where I didn't win a stage yet, maybe I would have panicked with the position I was in," Kittel said.

"I was waiting for someone to make a move because there were a few that were too far back. That was McLay today, I just held his wheel and then I could hit the front at the perfect moment."

McLay had to settle for seventh place, his second top-10 finish of this year's Tour. He said after finishing 10th on stage seven to Nuit-Saint-Georges he needed to back himself a little more, but may have over-corrected here with the early move.

"I just tried to stay on the outside and go in a bit slower," the Fortuneo-Oscaro rider said.

"I actually came out really good on Kittel's wheel with a bit more speed. At least for once I'm not kicking myself for waiting too long.

"At least I played my cards, and actually the legs are okay."

The 178 kilometre stage from Perigueux started at a strong pace as riders re-found their legs following Monday's rest day, but once a two-man breakaway - formed of Wanty-Groupe Gobert's Yoann Offredo and Fortuneo-Oscaro's Elie Gesbert - had gone clear, the peloton settled down for a gentle ride around the Dordogne.

"That was about as relaxed as the Tour de France gets," Froome said. "There was not a lot of wind, not a lot of climbing, dry roads. It was quite a nice stage after a rest day."

Wednesday's stage from Eymet to Pau is another one set up for the sprinters, although Froome knows the threat of crosswinds on the road south could mean a return to more stressful racing.

"Any talk of crosswinds gets the whole peloton quite nervous," Froome said. "Everyone starts fighting for positions at the front. We're going to have to get ready to go to war again."

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