Kittel notches 2nd straight stage win in photo finish

From black and white to 10,000 frames per second How the

Until a beach umbrella floats across the pack. Perhaps better to think of these days as resembling a good burgundy, which needs a long time to take in the air before producing something with a special savour to it.

Back down in the flats on Friday, the wine-themed Stage 7 was won by Marcel Kittel in a photo finish.

Calmejane bade his time and did not try to bridge over until the race hit the Cat.2 Cote de Viry with 55km remaining. I'm in great shape, I'm super happy that the team supported me so well today.

"I really had no clue if I won or not", Kittel told journalists. "There was just a moment when I broke free and started to go ahead".

The big German sprint ace raised a glass of champagne after winning Thursday's sixth stage at a canter, having already tasted victory in last Sunday's second stage.

Who can stop Marcel Kittel?

Kittel said it was the closest finish of his life.

He was repeatedly asked after his win about their absence. Fast forward to 2017 and even though he says his battle for the overall is now on hold, Thomas is hoping for a better result.

We've had to ride at the very high tempo behind them.

The peloton was happy for this break to dangle off the front, but not too much as Lotto Soudal and QuickStep put a few riders up the front when the gap just pushed out just over four minutes after 25 kilometres covered. Perrig Quemeneur, Frederik Backaert and Vegard Stake Laengen were caught by the peloton with 3 kilometers to go.

He now leads Thomas by 12sec on the overall classification standings, with Italian Fabio Aru a further two adrift in third.

Robert Gesink of the Netherlands finished second while Guillaume Martin of France was awarded third, leading led a group of riders who were credited with finishing 50 seconds back, including Nathan Brown of the United States in ninth place.

"One minute everything is going well, the next you're in the ditch with your team-mate over the barrier lying next to you". It was quite a hectic finish but the guys were once again absolutely incredible.

With Peter Sagan excluded form the Tour for elbowing Mark Cavendish in a muscular sprint finish on Tuesday, the race for the green jersey has come alive.

"We'll definitely get a very good idea of who's really going well and above all who's climbing well", Thomas, now lying second overall after his spell in the Tour lead, said on Friday.

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