British climber Simon Yates has retained the best young rider white jersey for another day as the mountains loom at the Tour de France.
The seventh stage was yet another long, hot and flat day, once again won in a bunch sprint by Marcel Kittel (Quickstep Floors).
Yates rolled across the line, surrounded by his ORICA-SCOTTteammates, in 28th position.
“The beginning of the day was nice and relaxed, just how I like it, but it didn’t last long,” Yates said. “There was a small chance there was going to be crosswinds and it was going to split so it was a stressful day trying to stay in good position all of the time.”
“The team did a good job for me today, I was just following the wheels.
“We didn’t want to take any chances there when we came into the final stretch and the best place to be is in front. We did that the best we could until a few kilometres to go and then for me it’s OK with the safety of the three-kilometre rule.”
With two big mountain stages ahead over the weekend, attention turns back to the general classification battle tomorrow.
“It’s going to be an interesting day tomorrow,” Yates said. “I’m not sure if the break will go or if with the time bonuses there, maybe it could be a really hard day.”
“The day after is a monster of a stage so maybe there will be some guys trying to save themselves for that. It’s hard to judge, we will have to see.”
How it happened:
For the fifth time in the last seven days, the peloton set off from the stage seven start in Troyes with over 200km to travel.
The heat, a reasonably flat course, and dominance of the sprint teams once again meant that the day’s breakaway of four riders were given very little room to move.
At a maximum the quartet held a three-minute advantage, but as the race entered the final 50km the gap reduced in anticipation for potential winds – the only threat to another bunch sprint conclusion.
ORICA-SCOTT moved to the front to protect their leaders in the final ten kilometres but the winds had died down to remove any serious threat.
Kittel narrowly won the bunch sprint ahead of Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) in a photo finish with ORICA-SCOTT’s top finisherMathew Hayman in 24th position on bunch time.
Tour de France – Stage 7 Results:
1. Marcel Kittel (Quickstep Floors) 5:03:18
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) ST
3. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) ST
24. Mathew Hayman (ORICA-SCOTT) ST
Tour de France – General Classification after Stage 7:
1. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 28:47:51
2. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) +0:12
3. Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team) +0:14
6. Simon Yates (ORICA-SCOTT) +0:43