World champion and member of Germany's Bora-Hansgrohe team say he did not cause crash that injured Mark Cavendish.
Tour de France: Kittel wins Stage 6 and Sagan appeal rejected by CAS
Marcel Kittel won Stage 6 of the Tour de France in Troyes as Chris Froome stayed safe in the yellow jersey.
Quick-Step Floors' Kittel beat Frenchman Arnaud Demare (FDJ) and fellow German Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) in a sprint finish at the end of the 216-kilometre stage from Vesoul.
Team Sky's Froome had a relatively stress-free first day in the yellow jersey, with the only threat that came his way being a runaway parasol midway through the stage.
The day began with a three-man break heading clear as Perrig Quemeneur (Direct Energie), Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates) were allowed to build a lead of a little over four minutes.
But it proved a fairly sedate ride through Champagne country, with the main incident of note before the final kilometres being a stray parasol which blew into the road close to the front of the peloton and the Team Sky train.
Somehow it failed to fell any riders as it rolled through the pack close to Colombey-les-deux-Eglises, celebrated as the long-time home of the late former French president Charles de Gaulle.
Team Sky and Froome were spared the work of leading the peloton once again as the sprint teams took responsibility for chasing down the breakaway, finally making the catch inside the last three kilometres.
Froome continues to lead the Tour by 12 seconds from team-mate Geraint Thomas, with Astana's Italian national champion Fabio Aru in third, 14 seconds off yellow.
With world champion Peter Sagan's disqualification from the Tour for crashing with Mark Cavendish on stage four still fresh in the memory, Demare forced his way through a narrow gap against the barriers on the approach to the line.
Alexander Kristoff of Katusha-Alpecin took fourth place in the ahead of Cofidis' Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni, while Britain's Dan McLay of Fortuneo-Oscaro came home in eighth place.
Meanwhile, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Thursday rejected Slovak cyclist Peter Sagan's appeal of his Tour de France ejection stemming from a sprint collision that knocked rival rider Mark Cavendish out of the race with a broken shoulder blade.
A race jury disqualified Sagan on Tuesday.
Sagan, the current world champion and a member of Germany's Bora-Hansgrohe team, said that he did not cause the crash.