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Tour de France 2017: Stage 7

Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 7 from Troyes to Nuits-Saint-Georges.

 

Tour de France race hub

 

Tour de France Start list

 

Stage 7 Preview

 

Stage 6 report: Kittel wins sprint in Troyes

Tempers continue to flare in Tour de France sprints

 

 

 

 

Bonjour from a hot and sunny Troyes as the riders prepare for the 213.5km stage.

 

It should be another day for the sprinters.

As usual we'll have news and photos from the start, blow by blow updates during the stage and then reaction and photos after the stage.

After the high-speed hectic sprint yesterday and the subsequent spat between Bouhanni and Guarnieri, the Cofidis sprinter was quizzed by media at the start.

 

After Marcel Kittel's victroy in Troyes yesterday, the overall classification remained unchanged with Chris Froome in yellow and Team Sky in control. 

 

This is the General Classification:

 

1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 23:44:32
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:12
3 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:14
4 Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:25
5 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:39
6 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott 0:00:43
7 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:47
8 Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:52
9 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:54
10 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:01

This is the sign on podium at the start. Every rider has to pass here.

 

Marcel Kittel is naturally at the centre of attention at the start. 

 

As was Arnaud Demare (FDJ).

 

Chris Froome gets to wear a bright new yellow jersey for each stage. Here he speaks to Cyclingnews Editor Daniel Benson. 

 

Froome also posed for photographs with the organiser of the Tour de France criterium that will be held in China in October.

 

The riders have gathered on the start line and are about to roll out from Troyes.

They face an neutralised section of 8.2km before the flag drops and the stage starts.

Breaks have been allowed to go clear from the start but today there cold be a far bigger battle after Froome and Team hinted they might let the yellow jersey go to save their strength.

 

Of course other teams might chase to try to keep Froome in yellow and so under pressure in the race and busy post-stage.

The riders have rolled out.  Here we go.

“To be honest it’s not the plan to keep the jersey every day until we get to Paris but we’ve got the team do it, 100 per cent. Honestly, I believe it’s a team that can be even stronger than it is now in the third,” the team’s director, Nicolas Portal, told Cyclingnews.

 

To read the full story click here. 

It's another hot day with temperatures close to 30C. There is only a slight risk of rain, perhaps via a thunder storm, with a 15km/h wind from the west.

 

That should give the riders a slight tail wind as they ride south-east towards Dijon.

The finish is in Nuits-Saint-Georges, famous for it's red wines.

The riders are ticked in behind the red race director's car, waiting for the flag to drop. 

From the CN blimp we can see Thomas De Gendt perhaps waiting to attack.

The riders split around a huge roundabout but reform as always.

 

Most riders seem pretty relaxed so far.

Here we go! The flag drops. They're off!

And we have an attack!

Cannondale is again in the move.

 

The peloton seems to have let them go. There is no bagarre to get in the break today either.

Also in the four-rider attack are Manuele Mori (UAE Emirates), Maxime Bouet (Team Fortuneo - Oscaro) and Yohann Gène (Direct Energie).

Dylan van Baarle is there for Cannondale-Drapac.

The four already lead by 1:40.

 

Team Sky and Lotto Soudal are on the front of the peloton, blocking any idea of a chase.

The big name overall contenders are all cruising in the peloton, happy that the break has formed quickly. 

Like clockwork, Julien Vermote (Quick-Step Floors) comes to the front to set the tempo for Kittel and protect his chances of a bunch sprint.

The gap is up to 3:30 as the four riders take smooth turns on the front. 

 

They face a hard day out front.

As you can see from the stage profile above, today's stage includes some rollnig roads mid-stage. 

 

The only intermediate sprint comes after 108km in Chanceaux. While the only climb of a day - a cat 4 - comes after 147.5km. It is called the Côte d'Urcy.

 

 

 

The stage is racing through fields of wheat and other crops at the moment. We hope to find some sunflowers soon to complete the iconic shots of the race.

#TDF2017 The gap of the 4 riders is 3'40" after 20km of racing.

@Lotto_Soudal Fri, 7th Jul 2017 10:50:29

Maxime Bouet, Yohann Gene, Manuele Mori and Dylan Van Baarle are in today's breakaway at #TDF2017.

@quickstepteam Fri, 7th Jul 2017 10:50:28

186km remaining from 213km

Other teams are now helping to set the pace in the peloton.

 

Olivier Le Gac is working for FDJ, swapping turns with Vermote of Quick-Step Floors. They're leading the lined out peloton as they pass near the River Seine that eventually flows to Paris.

The Seine is over 770km long.

Lars Bak (Lotto Soudal) is also working to help control the attack, with Team Sky tucked behind the hard working trio.

Bak, Vermote and Le Gac are taking turns, with Team Sky happy letting them move back in ahead of them.

Behind the 'bar' has laready opened due to the heat with domestiques bringing fresh bidons up to their leaders and teammates.

 

Riders will probably go through 20 or so bidons today due to the heat. 

Counting the bidons carried by @MBurghardt83 in that great National kit at the #tdf #sbstdf

@MelbourneJulie Fri, 7th Jul 2017 11:10:39

He had at least seven bidons in his pockets.

#TDF2017: With 175KM still to race, @DylanvanBaarle + friends are 3'30 ahead of the bunch. Peloton doesn't want to allow a long leash here.

@Ride_Argyle Fri, 7th Jul 2017 11:20:27

#TDF2017 The advantage of Bouet, Gène, Mori and Van Baarle is around 3' with still 170km to go. Lars Bak is setting the pace in the peloton.

@Lotto_Soudal Fri, 7th Jul 2017 11:23:15

It seems that several other sprinter teams are so far refusing to help with the chase.

 

There's no sign of Cofidis on the front for now or Katusha, for Bouhanni and Kristoff. 

Despite the steady pace, the speed is high, with the average speed for the first hour at 43.9km/h.

The quiet kilometres during flat stages only lead to a more intense and high-speed finish.

 

We've had lots of fireworks so far this Tour and we can expect more today.

 

To get a bird's eye view of today's stage, check out our special videos produced with relive.

 

Click here to see the video.

Will Mark Cavendish ride again this season? The basic answer is that no one knows at this point. And it is hard for a team to lose its leader, DS Roger Hammond told us. "Of course it's a big blow."

Not bad, to sit at an outdoor cafe with a bite to eat and something to drink and watch the Tour pass by only a meter or so away...

 

Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) has not started the Tour the way he would have wanted to, but hopes to make up time this weekend in the mountains. "I hope, in my head, and I’m always thinking that I can make up time,” he told Cyclingnews.

146km remaining from 213km

With 146 km left, the gap is down to 2:02.

 

RT @saddleblaze: They don't call him Marcus 'The Bora Bidon King' Burghardt for nothing. Or at all, I'm led to believe #TDF2017 https://t.c…

@CyclingPR Fri, 7th Jul 2017 12:02:50

A few kms ago, the gap was at two minutes. Now it has shot back up to 2:48.

 

Bouhanni gets a new bike, no idea what was wrong with the firt one. He has a teammate with him to help bring him back.

Team Sky doesn't need to hold the yellow jersey for the whole Tour, and wouldn't actually mind letting it go for a while, DS Nicolas Portal told Cyclingnews. He is happy to let some other team do the work, and besides, thinks his team will be the strongest in the third week. 

 

So BMC reckon their tactic on stage 5 made it difficult for Sky???? BMC, new to cycling are they?

@Trudgin Fri, 7th Jul 2017 12:28:11

Nacer Bouhanni has already set a personal record in this Tour de France, by starting stage 7. He has never made it that far before.

What he wants more than anything, though, is to finally win a stage here. 

 

120km remaining from 213km

With 120 km to go, the gap is still at 2:26. Not much change.

 

The day's only intermediate sprint is coming up in 15 km or so, but the sprint teams are already gathering and preparing.

 

Michael Matthews of Team Sunweb does not like the sprints are going here at the Tour. "I'm not risking my life for a top five," he says. 

 

Not far now until the intermediate sprint.

 

Bouet opens the sprint from far out. Mori jumps with him and takes the points. The other two just roll casually along.

 

Six riders have jumped from the peloton for the next intermediate sprint points. Colbrelli, Kristoff and Demare were the main participants, with Colbrelli crossing first.

 

The riders finally reach the feed zone. The riders in the break don't need to take their musette, with Maxime Bouet (Team Fortuneo - Oscaro) jokingly spraying his soigneur with water.

 

95km remaining from 213km

The situation remains unchanged with the peloton keeping the break under control.

Despite the high temperatures, there are again huge crowds along the road side cheering on every rider. 

Crash!

As the peloton hits the feed there Roglic has a problem with his musette and goes down.

 

It seemed his musette went into his wheel. That's a rookie mistake he will surely learn from.

Several riders have dropped back to the doctor's white car for treatment. We've seen Julien Simon of Cofidis and also Yoann Offredo of Wanty.

 

Riders often have minor problems and so get treatment on the go.

The Lotto Soudal has taken control at the head of the peloton.

As the kilometres tick down, the sprinters' team are taking more and more interest in controlling the break to ensure the stage ends in a sprint.

They want to bring the gap down after the feed zone caused it to rise by a minute.

Lotto seem to have sniffed a bit of a cross wind.

 

They're lining out across the road but the wind does not seem strong enuogh to spark echelons for now.  

However Lotto's move has awoken the other teams, with Quick-Step also moving up to the front.

The wind is blow some flags but it is not enough to cause seriuos problems.

Le peloton est nerveux, il accélère, attention aux bordures ! ⚠️

#WayToRide, @julienvermote! Close to reaching the 1000km-mark spent at the front of the peloton since the start of #TDF2017.

@quickstepteam Fri, 7th Jul 2017 13:36:10

Indeed Vermote is still doing big licks on the front of the peloton. 

 

He seems happy to do if it means that Marcel Kittel wins the sprint.

Crash! Roglic goes down again. He tangles with Sicard of Direct Energie. Navarro of Cofidis was also brought down.

 

Roglic seems to have hit his knee. He's waiting for his team car and will have to chase back on.

Roglic has several holes in his shorts. He gets his bike fixed and begins to chase in the long line of team cars.

This middle section of the stage is in the rolling hills and so the peloton enjoys the fresh air of a descent.

It wouldn't be the Tour de FRance without a sunflower shot.

 

Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) was in the midst of the media attention at the sunny start in Troyes.

 

He was asked about the lead-out trains.

 

"When you compare the sprints in this year's Tour de France and also last year, you see it's very difficult to work as a team," he explained.

 

"In 2013 and 2014 we always had a good lead-out, but since then everybody's put a lot of work in their lead-out train. I think they're neutralizing each other."

 

"There's no longer three teams who want to control the sprint but many more."

Kittel added that he will continue in the battle for the green jersey.

"I will continue to chase points and try to take them with me."

Back in the race the break is on the only climb of the day.

 

Mori and Bouet fought for the point at the summit. But the Frenchman got it by keeping Mori closed against the barriers.

The Tour de France is a key moment for riders and teams to decide their plans for the future.

 

Cyclingnews understands that Stephen Cummings will sign a new contract at Dimension Data during this year's Tour de France.

 

The 36-year-old has spent the last three seasons at the team and plans to put pen to paper on a new two-year deal, having agreed to terms with the squad.

"We've had really positive discussions. We've agreed but not signed. Hopefully, we'll have that done by the end of the Tour. I like the project and I like the opportunities I get," Cummings told Cyclingnews.

 

To read the full story on Cummings staying with Dimension Data, click here.

 

60km remaining from 213km

The peloton continues to stay vigilant and is keeping the four riders in the break under control.

 

They are also saving some energy for a final late push for glory in the final hour.

 

We are set for a fast final 60km of cat and mouse.

Chris Froome is in the yellow jersey. He also wears a yellow helmet because Team Sky is leading the team competition.

 

Cyclingnews Editor Daniel Benson spoke to Froome this morning at the start.

 

Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) was in a long solo breakaway move during stage 4.

 

This morning Cyclingnews asked the 26 year-old Belgian rider how he looked back on it.

 

"After 15 kilometres I thought about dropping back to the peloton. I knew it would never work out,: he admitted.

 

"My arms still hurt because I tried to lay down on the handlebars to be more aero. There's marks on my arms where the hair is gone."

 

"Today I'll recover and save something for the weekend. The day after the rest day I want to try again."

 

His teammanager Hilaire Van der Schueren told his riders not to attack today since they gained enough publicity.

 

His riders need to save themselves for the heat and the upcoming tough weekend.

Julien Vermote (Quick-Step Floors) wasn't looking forward to another day of controlling the breakaway group but he again been doing a lot of the work.

 

"It's a tough job. Luckily, the work is rewarded when we win the stage. The heat doesn't make it easier but I can deal with it quite well," he said.



Julien Vermote also said he was still negotiating a new contract after reports that Philippe Gilbert has agreed a new two-year deal with the Belgian team.

 

48km remaining from 213km

As we enter the final 50km of the stage, the four in the break still have a 2:20 lead as Vermote does yet another long turn on the front.

In other Dimension Data news, the team has said it hopes that Mark Cavendish will race agsin this season despite fracturing his shoulder blade in his crash on stage 4. 

 

Click here for thr full story.

 

#TDF2017 @JashaStterlin and @Benna80 are leading @NairoQuinCo towards the front of the bunch as we enter the final… https://t.co/qYZHsV59kn

@Movistar_Team Fri, 7th Jul 2017 14:31:17

The chase is on now, with the gap to the break down to 1:00.

 

40km remaining from 213km

There is exactly 40km to go. And the speed is up in the peloton.

35km remaining from 213km

The riders are blasting through the vineyards now but they have no time for a sip of Bourgogne red.

L'écart est passé sous la minute à 37km de l'arrivée

Valverde heads home to Spain after successful surgery #TDF2017 | https://t.co/ZUjIb8AhaI https://t.co/lE32o4sJjU

@Cyclingnewsfeed Fri, 7th Jul 2017 14:47:42

28km remaining from 213km

The kilometres are flying by now and the gap to the break to the break is just 35 seconds.

The peloton can see the break down on the long straight road through the forest.

25km remaining from 213km

The sprint teams and the GC teams are all trying to hold positions up front.

 

We can see several teams lined out and the peloton is rubbing shoulders and is packed across the road at 50km/h.

BMC is on the right, Trek is down the middle and Sky is on the left. 

22km remaining from 213km

The peloton seems to have eased and allow the break to hang 30 off the front.

It is a little early for the catch.

However we are also on exposed roads.

 

There could be echelons or attacks soon.

The exposed road ended quickly and so no attacks came this time.

However we can see the Movistar team and Katusha fighting for position in the middle of the peloton.

Christian Knees in on the front for Team Sky, protecting Chris Froome.

16km remaining from 213km

Wind has really dropped here :-( #tdf17

@mcewenrobbie Fri, 7th Jul 2017 15:06:30

 

A few years ago McEwen would have been happy to hear that the wind has dropped.

Orica-Scott and LottoNL Jumbo are also up front, packing the narrow country road.

The four riders in the lead have extended their advantage to 46 seconds. #TDF2017

@quickstepteam Fri, 7th Jul 2017 15:09:29

The break is refusing to give up the fight as the peloton hesitate.

 

Wisely Quick-Step has sent Gilbert to the front to do a big turn to bring the gap down.

 

Katusha is also helping the chase to set up Kristoff.

 

In one kilometer, @PhilippeGilbert brought the gap down by 15 seconds. #TDF2017

@quickstepteam Fri, 7th Jul 2017 15:13:13

10km remaining from 213km

Tony Martin is doing a big turn now.

The gap is down to just 18 seconds.

Gilbert does another big turn. Even climber Gianluca Brambilla is helping out with the chase.

Even Vermote is back at the front to do one last turn on the front. He's already worked for most of the stage to keep the break in check.

The riders soon turn right at 5.5km to go and then the road to the finish is straight and flat. 

 

This will be a high-speed sprint.

The breakaway riders attack each other as they fight for the most aggressive prize. They're refusing to give up.

Gene has sat up and the other three are about to be caught. 

The three shake hands and sit up.

6km remaining from 213km

Gruppo compatto!

5km remaining from 213km

Orica are on the front now, protecting Yates and Chaves.

Team Sky has slipped down the peloton.

 

Here comes the Quick-Step express train.

Demare uses his shoulder to bounce Bouhanni off his lead out train.

2km remaining from 213km

FDJ have taken control of the lead out.

QuickStep is just behind them.

Here comes Dimension Data.

Last kilometre!!

Demare has slipped back.

Quick-Step lead it out.

Di Data take over.

Di Data leads out Boasson Hagen.

He keeps his speed and its close on the line.

We need a photo finish.

It's close but it looks like Kittel gets it.

But it's very close.

Boasson Hagen wins it by a whisker. It seems.... 

No. It's Kittel! Boasson Hagen second.

Kittel finds out via a team radio and celebrates by hugging his soigneur and punching the air.

That was very, very close.

Provisional resuls show that Michael Matthews was third, with Alexander Kristoff fourth.

This is the top ten for the stage:

 

1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors 5:03:18
2 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
3 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
4 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin
5 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
6 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
7 Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
8 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
9 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal

Britain's Daniel Mclay (Fortuneo - Oscaro) was tenth but there's no top ten for Demare today.

 

His FDJ train fell apart before the final kilometre and he was stuck behind. That's a blow for his hopes in the green jersey competition.

It was Kittel's 12th win at the Tour de France but it was probably his closest.

Fortunately the photo finish camera can see a a gap of a 1000th of a second.

It was Kittel's third win at this year's Tour and he has now beaten the German record of stages wins held by Erik Zabel. 

Kittel came up alongside Boasson Hagen with just 75m to go. He was still behind with 20m to go but got his wheel ahead with a late bike throw.

 

Direction la récup pour Arnaud après cette journée compliquée.

This is the photo finish. Can you see the difference between Boasson Hagen and Kittel?

 

Kittel celebrates on the podium. He will back in a second to pull on the green jersey too due to Demare failing to finish in the top ten. 

Demare was there but just too far back.

 

In this year's sprints, positioning is everything because the sprinters are all pretty fast and competitive. 

Chris Froome finished safely in the peloton and so kept the leader's yellow jersey for another day.

 

This is the top ten after stage 7.


1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 28:47:50
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:12
3 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:14
4 Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:25
5 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:39
6 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott 0:00:43
7 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:47
8 Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:52
9 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:54
10 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:01

FDJ lead out man Jacopo Guarnieri has revealed to Italian television that Demare and all the team struggled to recover overnight in their hotel. He did not expalin why but indicated there was a problem with the hotel. 

 

FDJ tried to put Demare in a position to do as well as possible and score as many points as possible. It didn't come off.

This is the first image of Kittel as he crosses the line. He is not sure to have won at this point.

 

Chris Froome spoke briefly about his quiet day in the peloton.

 

"There was lots of talk about the wind today but nothing really happened for the GC riders, we’re all thinking about the weekend," Froom said post-stage.

 

"Each kilometre you think about the things that could change the course, and you had to stay in front. But everybody knows that Saturday and Sunday are the days for the overall classification. Even so, these flat stages are not easy, but that’s our job."

 

We stand corrected. Kittel has now equaled Zabel's record of 12 stage wins.

 

.@marcelkittel equaled Erik Zabel for most stage wins by a German rider at the Tour de France:… https://t.co/iafoJe6iDR

@quickstepteam Fri, 7th Jul 2017 16:02:34

Here's Froome on the podium.

 

This shot shows just how close it was at the line.

 

 

Kittel was naturally happy to win his third stage this year.

 

"I had no clue whether I won or not on the finish line. I just thought, 'This is going to be close,'" he said.

 

"I tried to make myself three metres longer. Actually, at 100 metres, when I was on Boasson Hagen's wheel and we came around the corner, I thought it was still 200 metres to go from there, but it was only 120 or something. Then I knew I just had the door was open on the right side and that I could pass him. It was just enough."

 

Kittel is happy to be in great form at the right moment.

 

"It's an incredible success. I'm really proud of it. I'm in great shape. I'm super happy that the team supported me so well today. I think we did a good lead-out," he said.

 

"We believed in this chance, in this victory. It's just crazy. Being back here now in the Tour, after 2014 and 2013, celebrating now already three stage wins is incredible. I'm so happy about it and I enjoy every minute of it."

It was this close.

 

 

After a quiet day in the peloton, the GC contenders face an intense weekend of fighting for every second.

 

Saturday's stage to Station des Rousses is perhaps suited to a breakaway but Sunday's big mountain stage will surely shake up the GC standings and reveal who is a true overall contender.

 

The 181.5km stage includes six major climbs, including three Hors Category climbs.

 

The steep Mont du Chat tops out just 25km from the finish in Chambery, with the same steep and dangerous descent the riders faced in the recent Dauphine.

 

Chris Froome is already looking ahead to the weekend. Here he talks about Saturday's stage.

 

"I’ve gone and reconned it and seen the finish of the stage into Rousses."

 

"It’s difficult to predict what’s going to happen on a stage like that - it’s a long way to the finish from the top of the climb. It stays up on the plateau. There could be a lot of different scenarios that could unfold there."

According to L'Equipe, the Tissot time keepers have calculated Kittel's winning margin as just 0.0003 of a second or just 6mm in distance considering the speed he was travelling.

Kittel was happy to take the green jersey and autograph several others.

 

 

Here's Kittle in green.

 

Suits you sir! 

 

 

The other jerseys remain unchanged with Fabio Aru (Astana) in the polka-dot jersey as best climber and Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) as the best young rider in the white jersey.

Aru said he likes the red dots because it reminds him of the red and white Sardinia flag.

 

 

Simon is trying to emulate his twin brother Adam who won white last year. 

 

To read our full stage report on the close sprint finish and see our full photo gallery from the stage, click here.

 

To read the first reaction from Marcel Kittel, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Chris Froome, Richie Porte, click here 

 

 

To watch the video highlights of the stage click here.

In other news, Lucinda BRand won solo today at the women's Giro Rosa.

 

Click here for our full report and photo gallery.

 

Thanks for joining us for our full live coverage of today's stage.

 

We'll be back on Saturday for full coverage of stage 8 as the Tour heads into the Jura mountains for a GC shakedown. 

 

 

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