Kittel took the stage – his third of the tour and third on the bounce - from Mark Renshaw (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Andrea Guardini (Astana).
Phinney survived the stage unscathed and finished safely in the peloton to secure the overall win, and puts his early-season form down to the hard work in the off-season.
“I haven’t had a problem free winter, injury and sicknesswise, ever and this was my first really solid winter,” he said.
“I had a really great time in the US back with my friends in Boulder, Colorado. Then I had a really solid month of training in San Diego.”
Giant-Shimano rider Kittel was the beneficiary of some good luck along the way with two of his main rivals – Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish – coming unstuck.
Mark Cavendish dropped his chain having hit a bollard as the race drew to a close and while teammate Renshaw took up his mantle, he was no challenge to the in-form Kittel.
Peter Sagan also cut a frustrated figure as he came off his bike in the final 5km of the race as the jostling for position began to heat up.
The win continues Kittel’s remarkable start to the season – he adds the three stages wins in Dubai to his Down Under Classic win.
“I’m super happy,” said Kittel.
“But I’m totally dead now. The final was really fast. I lost my boys at 2km metres to go, just before the bridge.
- Sports & Recreation
- Mark Renshaw
- Mark Cavendish
- Andrea Guardini