Tour de France 2017: Marcel Kittel pips Edvald Boasson Hagen in photo finish to take third win

Germany’s Marcel Kittel sprinted to his third victory of the 2017 Tour de France after beating Norway’s Edvald Boasson Hagen by a tyre’s breadth in Stage 7 at Nuits-Saint-Georges, as Chris Froome retained the yellow jersey.
 

7 July 2017, 10:30pm
Marcel Kittel (left) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (right)
Marcel Kittel (left) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (right)
In a nail-biting conclusion to the 213.5km stage through the Burgundy wine region, Quick-Step Floors sprinter Kittel underlined his green credentials as the fastest man in the peloton by narrowly beating Dimension Data’s Boasson Hagen – thanks to a late lunge at the eleventh hour.

Benefiting from a superb lead-out, Boasson Hagen had looked destined to give his Dimension Data team a lift following the set-back of Mark Cavendish’s withdrawal on Tuesday. But a trademark surge from Kittel saw the 29-year-old German secure a twelfth career win on the Tour and draw level with Erik Zabel as his country’s leading stage winner.

Race officials later said that Kittel's winning margin over Boasson Hagen had been just 0.0003 seconds.

Australia’s Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb), Norway’s Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) and Germany’s John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) completed the top five in a thrilling finale.

French national champion Arnaud Demare (FDJ) could only take eleventh place – behind the likes of Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo), Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) and old foe Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) – en route to conceding the green jersey to hat-trick hero Kittel.

“I really had no clue if I won or not,” Kittel told journalists. “At 150 metres I was with Boasson Hagen and we came around the corner and I thought it was still 200 metres to go. Then I just had to pray that the door opened on the right-hand side so that I could pass him – and it was just enough.”

Kittel now leads Demare by 15 points in the points classification and takes back the green jersey he wore for one day following his opening victory in Stage 2 at Liege last Sunday.

Asked about drawing level with Zabel, Kittel said: “It’s an incredible success, I’m really, really proud of that. I’m in great shape, I’m super happy that the team supported me so well today.

“We did a good lead-out, we believed in this victory, and it’s just crazy. Being back here in the Tour and to already have three stage wins – it’s incredible, I’m just so happy.”