AUSSIE Michael Matthews is now the favourite for the Tour de France’s points classification title after the withdrawal of German sprint ace Marcel Kittel from the race.
Kittel crashed about 20km into stage 17 and hurt his shoulder. Matthews had reduced Kittel’s green jersey lead to just nine points when Kittel crashed and abandoned the tour soon after.
TV footage showed Kittel being treated by the race doctor, with blood dripping on his right leg.
The German sprinter won five stages this year.
If Matthews can maintain his lead through to the famed last stage into Paris, he will become the third Australian to win the points classification.
Robbie McEwen won the green jersey in 2002, 2004 and 2006, plus Baden Cooke took it out in 2003.