Kittel wins as Froome falls

Marcel Kittel won a third Tour de France stage in four attempts and Chris Froome suffered a crash as the 101st edition of the race resumed in northern France on Tuesday.

There was drama early on the 163.5km stage from Le Touquet-Paris-Plage to Lille as defending champion Froome went down after six kilometres.

And the finish produced a familiar winner as Kittel (Giant-Shimano) out-sprinted Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Arnaud Demare (FDJ) to add to his wins in Harrogate and London.

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was 24th to retain the race leader's yellow jersey.

Froome finished 42nd on the stage, slipping from fifth to seventh overall ahead of a challenging fifth stage which will commemorate 100 years since the start of World War One.

The Team Sky leader was nursing a wrist injury ahead of a stage which could shake up the general classification, the 155.5km route from Ypres to Arenberg Porte du Hinaut, which features nine cobbled sections totalling more than 15km.

The problem occurred when wheels touched in the peloton and Froome tumbled on to the left side he damaged during June's Criterium du Dauphine, suffering torn shorts, a grazed left hip and a sore wrist.

He swiftly found his feet and was taken back to the peloton by team-mates Bernhard Eisel and David Lopez following an assessment by the race doctor.

A splint for his wrist was also produced from the team car and Froome finished the day safely in the pack, but slipping behind Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in the overall rankings.