Tour de France: Kittel makes it three in Nuits-Saint-Georges

Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) continued his sprint dominance at the Tour de France, taking his third victory of the race in Nuits-Saint-Georges. But this time, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) came the closest to besting the German, forcing the judges to carefully review the finish photo before declaring Kittel the winner. Michael Matthews (Sunweb) was a close third.

The victory was Kittel's 12th in the Tour de France, equaling Erik Zabel's record for stage wins by a German rider in the race, and earned him the green jersey for leader of the points classification.

"It's an incredible success. I'm really proud of it," Kittel said. "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. 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."

The sprints continued to be as chaotic as they have been throughout the first week of the Tour, with green jersey Arnaud Démare (FDJ) clashing with Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) in the battle before the final kilometer. But when it came to the final meters, the French teams had used all of their energy on each other, leaving Quick-Step and Dimension Data in firm control of the front of the race.

Quick-Step seized control through to the 400-metres-to-go mark, but then Kittel wisely settled in on Boasson Hagen's wheel, letting South African champion Reinardt Janse van Rensburg lead out his teammate. But Kittel misjudged the finish, and almost waited too long, his bike throw just enough to win by a hair's width on the line.

"I had no clue whether I won or not on the finish line. I just thought, 'This is going to be close.' I tried to make myself three metres longer," Kittel said. "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 to hope the door was open on the right side and that I could pass him. It was just enough."

Chris Froome (Sky) and the rest of the overall contenders finished in the main peloton with no change to the general classification – Froome leads by 12 seconds over teammate Geraint Thomas, with Fabio Aru (Astana) in third at 14.

"It was definitely a day for the fast guys today, it was more about staying out of trouble, staying up front. There was a lot of talk about crosswinds, so it was critical to be up front, but it never really became tough. It was one of those days to tick off for us. Heading into the weekend, obviously we have some big mountains now, so our focus moves toward that," Froome said.

"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."

How it unfolded

The peloton faced another hot and sunny day as they set out from Troyes to cover another 213.5km, with temperatures expected to hit 30°C. New to the mix were strong crosswinds that were feared by the riders throughout the day, but they died down before any team could employ them to split the peloton.

The day's breakaway once again formed quickly after the sharp start to the stage. Manuele Mori (UAE Team Emirates), Maxime Bouet (Team Fortuneo – Oscaro), Yohann Gène (Direct Energie) and Dylan van Baarle (Cannondale-Drapac) were the lucky four. It seemed a day for a group to stay away to the end, but the field never allowed the group more than three minutes.

The first excitement of the day came with the intermediate sprint at kilometer 108. In the lead group, Bouet was the first to jump, but went too early. Mori caught and passed him for the maximum points.

Behind them, six riders jumped from the peloton to battle it out for the remaining points toward the green jersey competition. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) was first across the line, followed by Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and André Greipel (Lotto Soudal). Green jersey holder Démare slotted into 10th in the sprint, two places ahead of Kittel to extend his lead in that competition by two points. But with a 20-point spread between winner and runner-up in the finish, Démare would need another stage win or a mistake from Kittel to keep the jersey.

With a sprint finish on everyone's mind, the gap started slowly coming down as the sprinters' teams took control of the race, as predicted by Team Sky's leader Froome. The Lotto Soudal train was very visible at the front of the peloton, hoping to finally help Greipel to a stage win, and had reeled the leaders to within a minute by the 40km to go mark.

However, the field was happy enough to let the leading quartet dangle up front between 30 seconds and one minute before Quick-Step Floors realised it was time for action with 12km left.

The four fought hard to stay away, with van Baarle trying to keep them working together, but he wasn't getting much interest. Gene was the first to bow to his fate and fall back, with Mori and Bouet half-heartedly pulling before the Cannondale rider, too, saw that their fate was sealed. They shook hands and soon assumed their places at the back of the peloton.

Orica-Scott then moved into the lead, driving the peloton at high speed, as the teams behind dodged and dove between the intermittent traffic islands. Cofidis and FDJ battled intensely as each tried to infiltrate the others' lead-out. There was contact between Bouhanni and Démare, but fortunately the speed was so high there was no time for further argy-bargy.

Sunweb jumped into the lead with two kilometres to go, but it was Quick-Step leading the way into the finale. Dimension Data had the last lead out man with Janse van Rensburg. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) jumped early and tried to get around Boasson Hagen on the left, but Kittel surged to the right and nudged out the win in the photo finish with Matthews once again just a hair too late on the far left in third.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors5:03:18
2Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension DataRow 1 - Cell 2
3Michael Matthews (Aus) Team SunwebRow 2 - Cell 2
4Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-AlpecinRow 3 - Cell 2
5John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-SegafredoRow 4 - Cell 2
6Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 5 - Cell 2
7Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 6 - Cell 2
8Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 7 - Cell 2
9André Greipel (Ger) Lotto SoudalRow 8 - Cell 2
10Daniel Mclay (GBr) Team Fortuneo - OscaroRow 9 - Cell 2
11Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJRow 10 - Cell 2
12Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-AlpecinRow 11 - Cell 2
13Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 12 - Cell 2
14Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La MondialeRow 13 - Cell 2
15Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 14 - Cell 2
16Jack Bauer (NZl) Quick-Step FloorsRow 15 - Cell 2
17Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension DataRow 16 - Cell 2
18Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 17 - Cell 2
19Grega Bole (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 18 - Cell 2
20Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 19 - Cell 2
21Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 20 - Cell 2
22Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 21 - Cell 2
23Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 22 - Cell 2
24Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica-ScottRow 23 - Cell 2
25Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 24 - Cell 2
26Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-ScottRow 25 - Cell 2
27Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 26 - Cell 2
28Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-ScottRow 27 - Cell 2
29Patrick Bevin (NZl) Cannondale-DrapacRow 28 - Cell 2
30Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-HansgroheRow 29 - Cell 2
31Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 30 - Cell 2
32Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Orica-ScottRow 31 - Cell 2
33Angelo Tulik (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 32 - Cell 2
34Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-ScottRow 33 - Cell 2
35Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 34 - Cell 2
36Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar TeamRow 35 - Cell 2
37Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 36 - Cell 2
38Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing TeamRow 37 - Cell 2
39Luke Rowe (GBr) Team SkyRow 38 - Cell 2
40Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto SoudalRow 39 - Cell 2
41Romain Hardy (Fra) Team Fortuneo - OscaroRow 40 - Cell 2
42Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain-MeridaRow 41 - Cell 2
43Marco Minnaard (Ned) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 42 - Cell 2
44Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar TeamRow 43 - Cell 2
45Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team SkyRow 44 - Cell 2
46Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 45 - Cell 2
47Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-ScottRow 46 - Cell 2
48Christopher Froome (GBr) Team SkyRow 47 - Cell 2
49Cyril Gautier (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 48 - Cell 2
50Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 49 - Cell 2
51Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 50 - Cell 2
52Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team EmiratesRow 51 - Cell 2
53Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 52 - Cell 2
54Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 53 - Cell 2
55Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 54 - Cell 2
56Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-HansgroheRow 55 - Cell 2
57Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step FloorsRow 56 - Cell 2
58Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 57 - Cell 2
59Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 58 - Cell 2
60Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-DrapacRow 59 - Cell 2
61Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto SoudalRow 60 - Cell 2
62Sergio Henao (Col) Team SkyRow 61 - Cell 2
63Brice Feillu (Fra) Team Fortuneo - OscaroRow 62 - Cell 2
64Koen De Kort (Ned) Trek-SegafredoRow 63 - Cell 2
65Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-HansgroheRow 64 - Cell 2
66Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-SegafredoRow 65 - Cell 2
67Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 66 - Cell 2
68Adam James Hansen (Aus) Lotto SoudalRow 67 - Cell 2
69Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-HansgroheRow 68 - Cell 2
70Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek-SegafredoRow 69 - Cell 2
71Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 70 - Cell 2
72Mikel Landa (Spa) Team SkyRow 71 - Cell 2
73Laurent Pichon (Fra) Team Fortuneo - OscaroRow 72 - Cell 2
74Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJRow 73 - Cell 2
75Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 74 - Cell 2
76Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 75 - Cell 2
77Ben Swift (GBr) UAE Team EmiratesRow 76 - Cell 2
78Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-DrapacRow 77 - Cell 2
79Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) FDJRow 78 - Cell 2
80Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 79 - Cell 2
81Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-DrapacRow 80 - Cell 2
82Daniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar TeamRow 81 - Cell 2
83George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 82 - Cell 2
84Michael Gogl (Aut) Trek-SegafredoRow 83 - Cell 2
85Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 84 - Cell 2
86Rudy Molard (Fra) FDJRow 85 - Cell 2
87Amael Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing TeamRow 86 - Cell 2
88Thomas Degand (Bel) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 87 - Cell 2
89Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 88 - Cell 2
90Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 89 - Cell 2
91Simon Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-DrapacRow 90 - Cell 2
92Yoann Offredo (Fra) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 91 - Cell 2
93Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar TeamRow 92 - Cell 2
94Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension DataRow 93 - Cell 2
95Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team SkyRow 94 - Cell 2
96Warren Barguil (Fra) Team SunwebRow 95 - Cell 2
97Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Team Fortuneo - OscaroRow 96 - Cell 2
98Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 97 - Cell 2
99Tiago Machado (Por) Katusha-AlpecinRow 98 - Cell 2
100Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La MondialeRow 99 - Cell 2
101Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-AlpecinRow 100 - Cell 2
102Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-SegafredoRow 101 - Cell 2
103Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Team SunwebRow 102 - Cell 2
104Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La MondialeRow 103 - Cell 2
105Matteo Bono (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 104 - Cell 2
106Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Katusha-AlpecinRow 105 - Cell 2
107Dion Smith (NZl) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 106 - Cell 2
108Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 107 - Cell 2
109Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek-SegafredoRow 108 - Cell 2
110Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La MondialeRow 109 - Cell 2
111Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar TeamRow 110 - Cell 2
112Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team SkyRow 111 - Cell 2
113Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Katusha-AlpecinRow 112 - Cell 2
114Nathan Brown (USA) Cannondale-DrapacRow 113 - Cell 2
115Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 114 - Cell 2
116Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Quick-Step FloorsRow 115 - Cell 2
117Kristijan Durasek (Cro) UAE Team EmiratesRow 116 - Cell 2
118Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 117 - Cell 2
119Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team SunwebRow 118 - Cell 2
120Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 119 - Cell 2
121Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 120 - Cell 2
122Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 121 - Cell 2
123Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto SoudalRow 122 - Cell 2
124Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 123 - Cell 2
125Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb0:00:19
126Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ0:00:20
127Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 126 - Cell 2
128Scott Thwaites (GBr) Dimension DataRow 127 - Cell 2
129Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step FloorsRow 128 - Cell 2
130Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 129 - Cell 2
131Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team EmiratesRow 130 - Cell 2
132Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step FloorsRow 131 - Cell 2
133Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-Alpecin0:00:25
134Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:00:28
135Florian Vachon (Fra) Team Fortuneo - OscaroRow 134 - Cell 2
136Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 135 - Cell 2
137Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Dimension DataRow 136 - Cell 2
138Borut Bozic (Slo) Bahrain-Merida0:00:32
139Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin0:00:36
140Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro TeamRow 139 - Cell 2
141Paul Martens (Ger) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 140 - Cell 2
142Javier Moreno (Spa) Bahrain-MeridaRow 141 - Cell 2
143Elie Gesbert (Fra) Team Fortuneo - OscaroRow 142 - Cell 2
144Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-SegafredoRow 143 - Cell 2
145Mark Renshaw (Aus) Dimension Data0:00:44
146Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-Scott0:00:52
147Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJRow 146 - Cell 2
148Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team SunwebRow 147 - Cell 2
149Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 148 - Cell 2
150Timo Roosen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:00:58
151Thomas Leezer (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:01:00
152Stephen Cummings (GBr) Dimension Data0:01:12
153Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Sunweb0:01:14
154Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar Team0:01:20
155Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Katusha-AlpecinRow 154 - Cell 2
156Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ0:01:23
157Albert Timmer (Ned) Team Sunweb0:01:30
158Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) FDJ0:01:36
159Davide Cimolai (Ita) FDJRow 158 - Cell 2
160Jaco Venter (RSA) Dimension Data0:01:41
161Manuele Mori (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 160 - Cell 2
162Maxime Bouet (Fra) Team Fortuneo - OscaroRow 161 - Cell 2
163Simon Geschke (Ger) Team SunwebRow 162 - Cell 2
164Darwin Atapuma (Col) UAE Team EmiratesRow 163 - Cell 2
165Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie0:01:47
166Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:01:52
167Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro0:02:01
168Robert Wagner (Ger) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 167 - Cell 2
169Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 168 - Cell 2
170Christian Knees (Ger) Team SkyRow 169 - Cell 2
171Damien Howson (Aus) Orica-ScottRow 170 - Cell 2
172Romain Sicard (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 171 - Cell 2
173Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 172 - Cell 2
174Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 173 - Cell 2
175Taylor Phinney (USA) Cannondale-DrapacRow 174 - Cell 2
176Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Trek-SegafredoRow 175 - Cell 2
177Tsgabu Grmay (Eth) Bahrain-MeridaRow 176 - Cell 2
178Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 177 - Cell 2
179Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team SkyRow 178 - Cell 2
180Ondrej Cink (Cze) Bahrain-MeridaRow 179 - Cell 2
181Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 180 - Cell 2
182Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 181 - Cell 2
183Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-DrapacRow 182 - Cell 2
184Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 183 - Cell 2
185Pierre Rolland (Fra) Cannondale-DrapacRow 184 - Cell 2
186Juraj Sagan (Svk) Bora-HansgroheRow 185 - Cell 2
187Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:02:19
188Yohann Gene (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 187 - Cell 2
189Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 188 - Cell 2
190Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:03:28
191Jos Van Emden (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:03:33
192Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Quick-Step Floors0:04:15
193Julien Vermote (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 192 - Cell 2
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Points
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors50pts
2Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data30Row 1 - Cell 3
3Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb20Row 2 - Cell 3
4Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin18Row 3 - Cell 3
5John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo16Row 4 - Cell 3
6Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo14Row 5 - Cell 3
7Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe12Row 6 - Cell 3
8Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits10Row 7 - Cell 3
9André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal8Row 8 - Cell 3
10Daniel Mclay (GBr) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro7Row 9 - Cell 3
11Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ6Row 10 - Cell 3
12Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin5Row 11 - Cell 3
13Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie4Row 12 - Cell 3
14Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale3Row 13 - Cell 3
15Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert2Row 14 - Cell 3
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Intermediate sprint - Chanceaux, km. 108
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Manuele Mori (Ita) UAE Team Emirates20pts
2Maxime Bouet (Fra) Team Fortuneo - Oscaro17Row 1 - Cell 3
3Yohann Gene (Fra) Direct Energie15Row 2 - Cell 3
4Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac13Row 3 - Cell 3
5Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida11