Speaking after his first stage win in Liège on stage two, Kittel said that it wasn’t possible for a pure sprinter such as himself to win the points classification, but with Sagan out of the picture, the hunt for the green jersey has been blown wide open.
However the German sprinter, who now sits second in the points classification after winning stage six, 27 points behind Arnaud Démare (FDJ), says that stage wins are still his priority.
“I said before that I’m only interested in stage wins,” Kittel said after taking the 11th Tour de France stage of his career.
“That’s where you score those big points which are very important for the green jersey classification, and in a few days or a week we will see what the classification looks like and if there is still a realistic chance or not.
“I won’t give up. I have it in my focus but I won’t be pushing it at all costs.”
If Kittel is to win green then consistency will be key, with Quick-Step Floors sports director Tom Steels saying that the missing out on one sprint could be crucial with none of the riders still in the mix able to employ alternative tactics.
“I think it’s going to be a long battle,” Steels, a nine-time Tour de France stage winner himself, told reporters at the finish of stage six in Troyes.
“Everyone sprinter now has their limits, so to go in the break like Sagan can do, that’s out.
“For the green jersey there are a few sprints to go so you cannot miss out on one sprint. It will be a real battle.”