Tour de France 2017: Marcel Kittel Wins Stage 7 After Photo Finish

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistJuly 7, 2017

German supporter Didi Senft known as El Diablo jumps as the pack ride during the 213,5 km seventh stage of the 104th edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 7, 2017 between Troyes and Nuits-Saint-Georges. / AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE LOPEZ        (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
PHILIPPE LOPEZ/Getty Images

Quick-Step Floors' Marcel Kittel edged out what might have been the closest win of his career on Friday, beating Dimension Data's Edvald Boasson Hagen in a very close sprint in Stage 7 of the Tour de France.

Even the photo finish was just about inconclusive, and event organisers needed minutes to determine the winner.

Here's a look at just how close it was, via CyclingHub:

Here's a look at the results, via the Inner Ring:

The overall standings, via CyclingHub:

Recap

As shared by the Tour's official Twitter account, the stage profile was rather flat, with another bunch sprint expected ahead of the high mountains:

The temperatures climbed throughout the day, and with the peloton keeping the pace high, the riders had to work extremely hard. The wind also played its part, with echelons forming at times.

A foursome of riders formed the early break, including Manuele Mori (UAE Emirates) and Maxime Bouet (Team Fortuneo - Oscaro). They quickly gained a big lead, although the high pace in the peloton led to the bunch closing the gap a little too early.

Primoz Roglic made a rookie mistake in the feed zone, directing his musette into his wheel. The 27-year-old had trouble getting his bike back into a racing condition but was helped out by a kind fan.

As the leaders and the peloton got closer to the finish line, former star sprinter and current cycling analyst Robbie McEwen noticed a change in the weather conditions:

The four leaders kept battling even in the final stretch, but they were no match for the full force of the peloton. With the sprint trains rolling, Kittel pushed his way to the top of the peloton, courtesy of a wonderful leadout. Boasson Hagen nearly hung on for the win, but the German overtook him on the line.

The sprinters have dominated the Tour so far, but that's about to change. Saturday's ride to Station des Rousses will be a tricky stage, and it will be followed by the toughest stage yet. Three major climbs will be faced on the road to Chambery on Sunday, including the iconic Grand Colombier.

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