Marcel Kittel of Germany celebrates on the presentation podium after winning the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris on July 27, 2014. File photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo
Marcel Kittel captured his second consecutive stage and fifth of the 2017 Tour de France on Wednesday by claiming the crash-marred Stage 11 that spanned from Eymet to Pau.
The 29-year-old German used a late surge to win the 126-mile stage in 4 hours, 34 minutes, 27 seconds, narrowly edging Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen and Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen.
Britain's Chris Froome, who represents Team Sky, retained the leader's yellow jersey with an 18-second advantage over Italian Fabio Aru. Frenchman Romain Bardet, who overcame a crash, resides in third place, 51 seconds behind Froome.
Kittel, who claimed his 14th career Tour stage victory, credited Quick-Step teammates Jack Bauer, Philippe Gilbert and Julien Vermote in fending off his rivals.
"When you're on your top level as a sprinter, it's like playing Tetris and you're just trying to find the gaps," Kittel told the Guardian. "... It's really nice to give a team the victory because my team all worked hard -- they're champions and they're killing it for me."
Kittel's five stage victories are just one shy of the six won in 2009 by England's Mark Cavendish, who had to bow out of this year's race due to injury.
Bardet was a victim of one of the many crashes, injuring his knee in the process. He was able to switch bikes and finish the stage without issue.
Two-time champion Alberto Condor was involved in a pair of crashes and Aru's Astana teammate, Dario Cataldo, was forced to retire with a broken wrist.
Fellow Astana teammate Jakob Fuglsang, who resides in fifth place overall, also sustained a wrist injury but was able to finish the stage.