As Kittel inexorably pulls away in the green jersey competition and proves himself unbeatable in sprints, teams may shift focus and we should see riders like Sunweb's Michael Matthews abandoning hope of the green jersey and jumping in a break to try to win a stage.
Yesterday's 11th stage, featuring one fourth-category climb in 203.5km from Eymet to Pau, was another flat stage fit for sprinters.
Froome is now wearing the yellow jersey for the rider who has completed the stages so far in the least time.
"A huge, huge honor", Froome said of reaching that mark.
Kittel, who now has 13 Tour career stage wins, conversely was in full praise of his Quick-Step Floors teammates.
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It was the manner of Kittel's victory that was most impressive as he even had time to raise his arms in celebration before crossing the line.
The German sprinter said his confidence is high after a string of wins.
"It's really nice. I'm just speechless - I'm really, really happy".
"It's true that this Tour is pushing me to my psychological limits but I'm telling you, if people think I'm going to give up it's because they don't know me". "He won four sprints out of five, he is the best sprinter of this Tour". The leading trio built a maximum advantage of 4 minutes and 44 seconds at 44km into the race.
Britain's Chris Froome retained the overall leader's yellow jersey on a relaxed day for Team Sky's defending champion.
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Yoann Offredo went on his own immediately after the race director waved the flag to signal the start.
The sprinters, and their teams, are not only exhausted, but there are fewer of them now. We had a big chat last night about what we wanted to do and we did that. "The pure science would say, 'Stay in bed all day and don't move.' But that doesn't work", Vaughters said. From the peloton Alexander Kristoff took the most points.
It made for possibly the quietest what was the quietest stage so far, on a flat course that was essentially a rest day on wheels for the main contenders.
"I never believed in bad luck, but this Tour is putting me to the limit, especially psychologically", he said.
The hostile terrain of sun- and snow-scorched rocks and the thinning mountain air on the long climb to an altitude of 2,360 meters (7,742 feet) could make the Izoard, at the end of stage 18, the scene of the last major contest between the remaining favorites. 'It was one of the most relaxed days we've had in this Tour. "We'll see", he said.
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