SAINT-MALO, France — Germany’s Marcel Kittel won the 10th stage of the Tour de France in a sprint finish and Chris Froome stayed out of trouble to keep the leader’s yellow jersey.
Kittel held off countryman Andre Greipel and Mark Cavendish in a dash to the line Tuesday to win his second stage of the Tour.
Cavendish nudged Tom Veelers off his bike as they sprinted for the finish.
“I touched him. The road was bearing left,” said Cavendish, who was not penalized for the incident. “Yeah, it was my fault. … I hope he’s OK.”
Froome was at a safe distance behind.
“That’s everyone’s worst nightmare. Fortunately I was to the side of that crash and went around it no problem,” Froome said. “I’m feeling really good. Today was a great day for us, staying out of trouble, staying at the front. That was one of the objectives today, save the legs as much as possible.”
Kittel won the opening stage and is now the first rider to capture two stages in this year’s race.
“Things went very well with my team today,” he said. “I managed to get on Greipel’s wheel and overtake him.”
Veelers was not seriously harmed and was later able to answer questions outside the team bus.
“I had the feeling Cavendish was boxed in my wheel,” Veelers said. “He touched my handlebars and knocked me over.”
Peter Sagan, who won the green jersey for best sprinter in last year’s Tour, finished the stage in fourth. He holds a commanding 83-point lead over Greipel and is 103 in front of archrival Cavendish, who won the green jersey in 2011.
The finish looked tailor-made for Cavendish, who was going for his 25th career Tour stage win to tie Frenchman Andre Leducq on the all-time list of Tour stage winners.
“I think this team could’ve done something differently, but we’ll talk about that later,” Cavendish said.
As the British rider moved into position to attack before the final corner, Cavendish appeared to lean into Veelers and send the Argos-Shimano rider flying off his bike.
“I hope that Tom isn’t hurt too badly,” said Kittel, his teammate.
After seeing a replay of the incident, Kittel gave Cavendish the benefit of the doubt.
“I cannot imagine that it was on purpose because it was a very hectic situation,” he said.
After the stage, Cavendish was involved in an incident at his Omega Pharma-QuickStep team bus, angrily grabbing the reporter’s recorder when asked if the crash was his fault.
Froome, the Tour runner-up to British countryman Bradley Wiggins last year, has a healthy lead over second-place Alejandro Valverde and two-time champion Alberto Contador. Froome is looking to increase that in Wednesday’s time trial — a 20.5-mile dash from Avranches to Mont-Saint-Michel.