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TDF: Kittel win stage 7 in photo finish

Kittel wins his third stage in a photo finish with Edvald Boasson Hagen

Marcel Kittel claimed back-to-back stage victories and his third overall at the Tour de France. Kittel had to wait for the official decision which came down to a photo finish. Stage 7 had many similarities to the previous stage, however, riders had to endure the oppressive heat and strong winds. Italian rider and winner of stage five Fabio Aru spoke to letour about the conditions.

“It’s not been an easy day today. Because of the wind, there was a lot of stress in the peloton. My team-mates always kept me at the front. After seven stages, riders are getting tired. It’s the end of the first week. Tomorrow it should be a day for breakaways but it’ll be an important stage as they all are. After tomorrow it’ll be a very hard one, I’ve reckoned it.”

The riders remain in Eastern France in the foothills of the French Alps. Stage eight will take them 187.5KM from Dole to Sation des Rousses. The riders will have to deal with three category climbs (3,2 &1). The legs will be begging to tire after seven days of continuous racing. One minute separates the top-10. Team Sky’s job will be to protect Chris Froome in the yellow jersey. Attacks may come from anywhere Aru, Richie Porte, Nairo Quintana, Romain Bardet and Dan Martin will be looking to exploit opportunities. It’s going to boil down to who can control the tempo. Team Sky have been masters at this of late but BMC may be the team to watch.

Team Sky have got options with Froome and Geraint Thomas first and second in the GC. Thomas will revert to his role as a super domestique but Team Sky can’t mark everyone. Whether or not the likes of Martin and Porte work together in a bid to eat into Froome’s lead remains to be seen. Aru and Martin will be eager to show that their respective attacks up La Planche des belles filles weren’t a one-off. Orica’s British rider Simon Yates may fancy his chances on stage eight, such are the permutations. Tomorrow’s stage sets things up nicely for stage nine which consists of three hors catégory climbs. Tomorrow’s stage is really going to test the legs. We will get a glimpse of which of the race favourites are beginning to crack.  We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again, expect the unexpected.

General classification

Stage results

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