Published: Sun, July 09, 2017
Sports | By Phillip Butler

Kittel bursts through to win stage six

Kittel bursts through to win stage six

"It's definitely the closest win I've ever had in my career", said the 29-year-old Kittel.

But the commissaires fortunately pored over a super high resolution pic and proclaimed Kittel the victor of stage 7 after 213.5 kilometres raced from Troyes to Nuits-Saint-Georges.

Froome s Sky team-mate and British compatriot Geraint Thomas remains second at 12sec with Italian Fabio Aru, the victor of Wednesday s fifth stage, third at 14sec.

They soldiered on, though, with a maximum lead of over three and a half minutes at one stage, but were caught 3km from the finish. I'm in great shape, I'm super happy that the team supported me so well today.

Australia's general classification hope Richie Porte finished the day as he started, trailing yellow jersey holder Froome by 39 seconds in fifth place overall.

Briton Froome rolled over the line in third at 20sec, just ahead of Porte, to take the race leader's yellow jersey off his compatriot and team-mate Geraint Thomas, who drops to second, although at the same 12sec gap that he previously enjoyed.

Back in 2010, Thomas was also lying second overall when the Tour last tackled the Station des Rousses ascent, which - he admitted with a grin - "I didn't even know was the same one that we'll be going up tomorrow".

Riders prepared to embreace the challenges from mountain stages in Jura and Alps this weekend.

So it's easy to see why so many are thinking it will be interesting to see just how the Mont du Chat is raced this time.

"They took me all the way to the line with a ideal lead out", Boasson Hagen said. But the organizers systematically zoomed in and saw Kittel winning by the slimmest of margins so he got the win and the Green Jersey.

They held on for nearly 2km more but with 4km to ride, it was over and now all down to the overall contenders. For Froome, the results from this weekend might make a big difference. "There is a fair distance to the finish after the climb on Sunday so it could be a negative race".

Otherwise, Froome said, he spent the day chatting with other riders and admiring the views as the peloton rode into champagne country and through Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises, the hometown of France's wartime hero and former president, Gen. Charles de Gaulle.

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