Cycling: Kittel pips Cavendish for his third stage win at Tour de France

TOURS, FRANCE (Reuters) - German Marcel Kittel claimed his third victory on this year's Tour de France, when he pipped Mark Cavendish on the line to take the 12th stage on Thursday.

Kittel, who won the first and 10th stages, stayed behind the Briton's wheel in the final straight and went past Cavendish at the very last moment. Slovakia's Peter Sagan took third place at the end of a 218km flat dash from Fougeres.

Britain's Chris Froome avoided a late pile-up in the bunch and retained the overall leader's yellow jersey.

Dozens of riders were involved in the crash but as it occurred inside the last three kilometres all were credited with the winner's time.