The Giant-Shimano rider was brilliantly delivered by his team in front of Buckingham Palace to claim his sixth stage win in two editions of the Tour.
“Emotionally, this win is close to the one I got on the Champs-Elysees in Paris last year,” Kittel said.
“Winning on The Mall, that’s what I dreamed of but, even though I had a good chance to make it come true, it’s not something I could take for granted.
“It’s really fantastic to win here. On the finishing line, the crowd was fantastic. I love the atmosphere.”
The 155-kilometre route from Cambridge was the third and final stage on British soil ahead of the race’s return to France and was always destined to end in a sprint finish with
Peter Sagan (Cannondale) second and Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s Mark Renshaw third.
Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) — who won in Sheffield on day two — finished safely in the bunch to retain the overall leader’s yellow jersey, with defending champion Chris Froome (Team Sky) fifth overall, after safely negotiating a tricky opening three days in Britain. Ireland’s Nicolas Roche also finished safely in the main bunch and will be glad to have lost no time after his spill the day before.
The Tinkoff-Saxo man was 64th on the stage and is 25th overall, at 16 seconds.
Meanwhile, Roche’s first cousin, Dan Martin (Garmin-SHARP), is racing his first stage race since his horror crash at the Giro d’Italia two months ago, and after the opening two stages of the Tour of Austria, the Irishman is eighth overall, 41 seconds behind race leader Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky).
Martin was 86th on yesterday’s stage which ended in a bunch sprint and as he was in the main peloton, heconceded no time.
He will look to move further up the general classification today on stage three, when the race finishes on a very steep climb in the town of Kitzbüheler Horn, which is perfectly suited to Martin’s climbing ability.