After a long day's flat racing in the Burgundy region, Marcel Kittel took his third win of this Tour de France with a last-gasp effort to defeat Edvald Boasson Hagen by the tiniest of margins.
After the break of Maxime Bouet, Manuele Mori, Yohann Gene and Dylan Van Baarle were caught, the peloton thundered into the straight last five kilometres, leadout trains massing. Kittel's train brought him to the front with a kilometre left, but when Matteo Trentin dropped off and Fabio Sabatini was his only man left with five hundred metres to go, Kittel abandoned that sinking ship to take the wheel of Boasson Hagen, who was being led out by Reinhardt Janse Van Rensburg. Van Rensburg excelled himself, forming a small gap to Kittel who was finding himself swamped by the sprints of Michael Matthews and Alexander Kristoff. With seventy-five metres to go, Kittel looked out of it, but he somehow found his way around Boasson Hagen to finish in what, to the naked eye, looked like a dead heat with the Norwegian. However, the photo finish showed the jury that Kittel had taken the day.
- Marcel Kittel (GER), Quick-Step Floors - 5:03:18
- Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR), Dimension Data - st
- Michael Matthews (AUS), Team Sunweb - st
- Alexander Kristoff (NOR), Katusha-Alpecin - st
- John Degenkolb (GER), Trek-Segafredo - st
- Dylan Groenewegen (NED), Team LottoNL-Jumbo - st
- Rüdiger Selig (GER), Bora-Hansgrohe - st
- Nacer Bouhanni (FRA), Cofidis - st
- André Greipel (GER), Lotto-Soudal - st
- Daniel McLay (UK), Fortuneo-Oscaro - st
Kittel's win was enough to give him the green jersey, while all other jerseys stayed on the same shoulders.
Troyes - Nuits Saint Georges 213.5 km TV commentators view with fear in their eyes the possibility of another 200+ kms of nothing burger, praying that something will make this a bit more interesting out on the road than yesterday. Otherwise it's "just" a thrilling sprint to come. Saint George's Nuts of the Day: Marcel Kittel Basically he's that much faster at the moment so if QS don't manage to mess up the leadout completely he should be all but unbeatable on a finish as straight forward as this. But maybe Romain Feillu Arnaud Demáre can do something about it?