Giant-Shimano rider puts the mountains behind him
Having made it through the Tour de France mountains, Marcel Kittel (Giant Shimano) has the finish of the race, and a final sprint on the Champs Elysees firmly in his gaze.
The German power sprinter won three of four opening stages in this year's race but a combination of fatigue and illness have seen him move into survival mode as the race traversed through the Alps and then the Pyrenees.
However Sunday's stage offers with the perfect opportunity to book-end this year's Tour de France with stage wins - a feat he managed in 2013.
"The mountain stages were really difficult and I'm just happy that the mountains are done," he told the press at the finish of stage 19 in Bergerac.
The stage only held one fourth category climb but after almost three-weeks on the road, it proved too much for Kittel, who was unable to hang on and support his teammate John Degenkolb.
"Personally for me today was one of the worst days I've had in the Tour. You've got a lot of those moments where you don't know if you'll make it on time but not one stands out.
The parcours for Paris is as sprint-perfect as any bunch galloper could imagine. Although the finishline includes cobbles, there are no climbs and in most year's the final stage finished in a field sprint. Although Andre Greipel, Peter Sagan and Alexandre Kristoff remain in the race, Kittel is the favourite.
"The Champs Elysees is the big finish and we really want to be there again and to win it. Sunday is a very flat sprint and it's something that really suits me. I expect to be the team leader."
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