Sky team ominously set out their stall during a quiet day for the general classification as German picks up third win of 2017 Tour
Froome retains yellow jersey after Kittel pips sprint finish
Marcel Kittel took the green points jersey today after edging a photo-finish at Nuits-Saint-George on the seventh stage of the Tour de France. The Quick-Step rider forced out Norwegian sprint rival Edvald Boasson Hagen by just 6mm after the Tour jury took a few minutes to make their decision.
In the overall race, Team Sky’s Chris Froome maintained his hold on the maillot jeune, keeping his 12-second lead over fellow British teammate Geraint Thomas, with Italy’s Fabio Aru two seconds behind in third.
BMC Racing’s Richie Porte, a pre-race favourite, sits in fifth, 39 seconds behind, with the young Gallic hope Romain Bardet of AG2R eight seconds further back.
The dangerous Colombian Nairo Quintana sits ninth on +54secs, but he will hope to make up time on the mountain stages which are now upon the peloton.
It was the German Kittel’s third victory of this year’s event, and with Mark Cavendish and world champion Peter Sagan out of this year’s race following their coming-together on the fifth stage which saw the Briton break his shoulder and Sagan disqualified for allegedly elbowing him during the run-in to the finish.
On a day made for the fast men, the flat route through France’s central wine country saw the general classification riders allow the sprinters to take the lead over a 213km course which never climbed higher than a category-4 summit.
Team Sky’s performance pleased three-time winner Froome, who told the BBC: "There was a lot of talk of crosswinds, so it was a bit of a nervous day and we wanted to be at the front all day in case something happened. The team kept me safe at the front and fortunately nothing happened. It was a good day to get ticked off."