The German, who won one race all of last season, showed just what winning meant to him, raising his arms and pumping his fist as he easily crossed the line first.
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Kittel opened up his sprint quite early in the last kilometre, having had the perfect leadout from his Etixx team, leaving the likes of Cavendish and Giacomo Nizzolo battling behind him to keep up.
Cavendish dropped the wheel of his last man in order to keep up with the marauding Kittel, but was boxed-in during the opening stages of the sprint, doing well to jostle into a position to contend.
But in the end Kittel held off the rest of the bunch to take his first win since August and prove to the world that he had not lost a step since dominating in 2014.