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Summary

  1. Marcel Kittel wins photo finish
  2. GB's Chris Froome in leader's yellow jersey
  3. Stage seven: Troyes - Nuits-Saint-Georges, 213.5km
  4. BBC Radio 5 live commentary - online only

Live Reporting

By Peter Scrivener

All times stated are UK

Get involved

This is the end

And that seems like a good place to end today.

There will be more reaction in the stage seven race report and on the BeSpoke daily podcast. That will be live on BBC Radio 5 live from 20:30-21:00 BST this evening, but if you miss it, the podcast will follow and be on the cycling home page.

I'll be back from 11:15 on Saturday with the live text, while Simon Brotherton and Rob Hayles will be live from 14:30 with commentary.

As always, thanks for your company today and I'll expect you all tomorrow as the GC race starts to hot up. Bring your climbing legs.

Stage eight map
Tour de France

A word from our leader

Yellow jersey holder Chris Froome: "There was a lot of talk of cross winds today, so it was a bit of a nervous day and we wanted to be at the front all day in case something happened. The team did a really good job keeping me safe at the front and fortunately nothing happened. It was a good day to get ticked off."

And on the stages to come, he added: "It's not quite a mountain top finish tomorrow, which is difficult to predict what will happen and Sunday will be more of a decisive stage, so a big weekend of racing ahead."

Top 10 after stage seven

1. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) 28hrs 47mins 50secs

2. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Sky) +12secs

3. Fabio Aru (Ita/Astana) +14secs

4. Daniel Martin (Ire/Quick-Step) +25secs

5. Richie Porte (Aus/BMC Racing) +39secs

6. Simon Yates (GB/Orica) +43secs

7. Romain Bardet (Fra/AG2R) +47secs

8. Alberto Contador (Spa/Trek) +52secs

9. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar) +54secs

10. Rafal Majka (Pol/Bora) +1min 01sec

Top 10 on stage seven

1. Marcel Kittel (Ger/Quick-Step) 5hrs 03mins 18secs

2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor/Dimension Data) Same time

3. Michael Matthews (Aus/Sunweb)

4. Alexander Kristoff (Nor/Katusha)

5. John Degenkolb (Ger/Trek)

6. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned/LottoNL)

7. Ruediger Selig (Ger/Bora)

8. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra/Cofidis)

9. Andre Greipel (Ger/Lotto)

10. Daniel McLay (GB/Fortuneo)

Another top 10 for McLay

British sprinter Dan McLay's stock continues to rise. The Fortuneo rider was again in the mix, taking 10th on the stage.

However, he said he "stuffed it up" a bit.

"I made a big error in the finish," he continued. "I think I didn't believe in myself and I got stuck freewheeling on Demare's wheel.

"I need more confidence. It's up to me to pull my finger out and believe in myself.

"You can see Kittel is a level above but it's not out of this world (to get a stage win)."

How did Kittel win?

Marcel Kittel is the man on the near side. Edvald Boasson Hagen, the far side. The red line is the finish.

Marcel Kittel crossing the finish line ahead of Edvald Boasson Hagen
Getty Images

Froome retains yellow

A relatively calm bunch sprint finish means Britain's Chris Froome will spend a 47th day in the yellow jersey on Saturday, with no change in the general classification standings.

And now the photo you've all been waiting to see...

Kittel confirmed in green

Arnaud Demare ended up finishing 11th today and that means Marcel Kittel takes over the lead of that jersey.

Kittel, who joins Erik Zabel as the German rider with most Tour de France stage wins on 12, is on 197 points, 15 clear of Frenchman Demare.

A word from the winner

Marcel Kittel conceded he left it a bit late today: "I had no clue if I had won. At 150m when I was on Edvald Boasson Hagen's wheel I had to pray the door opened and I had just enough.

"Celebrating three stage wins is so incredible."

Green jersey heading to Kittel

In amongst all that, Arnaud Demare has lost the green jersey.

Marcel Kittel lunges in the sprint
Reuters

Closest finish ever?

I'm still not sure how they've decided that so quickly.

I've seen close finishes before but never anything that close. The race officials must have blown up the photo I've seen by a couple of hundred per cent to be able to separate them.

I'm struggling to think of anything thin enough to describe how close that was. You couldn't even get a fag paper between them.

Marcel Kittel and Edvald Boasson Hagen competing for the win
Reuters
I know you want a side-on shot but this is the best we've got so far!

Kittel gets it

Marcel Kittel wins stage seven of the Tour de France.

Marcel Kittel wins the sprint
Getty Images

A dead heat?

For once, no rider seems to know. The television cameras have gone to follow Kittel and he gives a shriek of joy. Has he won? There is still no official decision.

There is a photo on the TV screen. It looks like a dead heat to me!

Photo finish

This is close. Marcel Kittel came very very late and nobody is celebrating. Did he come too late to catch Edvald Boasson Hagen?

Flamme Rouge

Quick-Step Floors take this up. Still two in front of Kittel. Bouhanni is tracking Demare.

Final 500m who is getting this?

Final 2km

FDJ have got right to the front but how much energy have they used in getting Arnaud Demare up there?

Team Sunweb with Michael Matthews are right in the mix.

Quick-Step Floors, as always, have strength in depth...

3km remaining

Riders are weaving all over the place. Nacer Bouhanni tries to sneak on to the FDJ train but Arnaud Demare is having none of that.

This is my train, find your own Nacer.

4km remaining

Daryl Impey takes the pacing of the peloton and it's up to 65km/h. The tailwind clearly helping.

Arnaud Demare is still a long way back. His FDJ team-mates are trying to bring him up to the front.

He's not far from Kittel.

5km remaining

Direct Energie and Orica-Scott are on the nose of the race as the roads takes a sharp right.

The peloton is stringing out as the pace goes north of 50km/h,

6km remaining

This lead group is not going quietly though. They are starting to attack each other but that's not going to help them.

Manuele Mori stretches his legs as Yohann Genn decides the sensible option is just to give up and drift back to the peloton.

Dylan van Baarle decides they are not done yet, perhaps they are battling for the combativity prize, suggests Simon Brotherton on commentary.

Eventually, all three shake hands and sit up. The catch is made.

Riders in the breakaway
Getty Images

8km remaining

Any lingering thoughts the escapees had of making it to the finish in front are gone.

But Quick-Step are having to do all the work on the front. It's as though the other teams have said, 'you've got the best sprinter in Marcel Kittel, why should we pace it out to help your man win'.

Can anyone beat the German today?

10km remaining

Tony Martin at the front of the peloton
Getty Images

Quick-Step and Katusha have muscled Sky out of the way down the right and suddenly the peloton gets a bit more pointy at the front.

In the last couple of kilometres, the lead has halved.

Arnaud Demare is slipping back a bit. Easy to spot in his green jersey. He'll want to start moving up as the pace continues to increase.

It can't, can it? (12.5km remaining)

The road into Nuit-Saint-Georges is relatively narrow and with the general classification teams dominating the front, there is no room for the sprinters to take over.

The escapees are now 50 seconds clear. Surely not?

The final 5km is a tailwind, which should help the break.

Quick-Step have managed to get a rider on the front. It's Philippe Gilbert and immediately the advantage drops 10 seconds.

15km remaining

Movistar are hogging the middle of the road. Team Sky are down the right. Katusha are inbetween the two. The Lotto NL-Jumbo train has forced its way through.

They have Tour de Yorkshire stage winner Dylan Groenewegen in their team and he will be looking to improve on his sixth place from yesterday.

The four out front are still staying 30 seconds clear. No urgency to completely close it down. The sprinters don't want surprise attacks to deal with.

One more time

Time to focus on the finish. Who's your money on? I can't see past Drago winning a third stage of 2017's Tour.

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20km remaining

Tony Martin is on the front of the peloton, with three Katusha team-mates. The four-time world time trial champion "can do some damage" says Rob Hayles. He has three riders in his slipstream. Once again he is trying to set this up for Alexander Kristoff.

Team Sky are still all together. Christian Knees doing the hard yards right now on the right of the road.

The leaders are hanging 20 seconds clear.

'It's a drag race'

The peloton is still spread right across the road and the teams of the general classification riders are all to the fore.

"It's pretty much a drag race at the moment. A stampede," says Rob Hayles.

"The sprinters will like this because the longer they can sit back and not do too much work, the better."

Julien Vermote leads the peloton
Getty Images

Elementary?

#bbccycling - are there any more out there?

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25km remaining

Rob Hayles still thinks there's going to be a bit of wind to affect the run-in. At the finish line he and Simon Brotherton are watching a hot air balloon getting ready to lift off.

"Wouldn't happen in England," says Rob. "With all the health and safety there's no way they'd let it up if there was so much of a sniff of a breeze."

I think his tongue was lodged firmly in his cheek, as he continues to pray for a gust or two.

The break coming to an end

With the break close to being reeled in, it's perhaps time we gave them one final salute.

Maxime Bouet of the Fortuneo-Vital Concept team, Dylan van Baarle of Cannondal-Drapac, UAE Emirates' Manuele Mori and Direct Energie's Yohann Gene have given it their all but their fun is about to come to an end.

They have just 30 seconds advantage.

30km remaining

The four leading riders are working well together, although their spells on the front are becoming shorter. A few seconds each, a flick of the elbow, and the next man takes his turn.

Back in the peloton they are on a wide stretch of road and the riders are about 10 abreast.

It's a fairly straight stretch too and the prey is in sight, despite being 45 seconds clear.

The peloton ride alongside a horse rider
Getty Images

Porte the priest?

From a lay chaplain...maybe in 20 years? #bbccycling

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Largest breakaway contender

James Collins: In 1993 Stage 18 to Bordeaux. About 1/3 of peloton escaped with a bunch sprint. Abdoujaparov. Boardman WHR #bbccycling

No comment

Rob Hayles

Former GB cyclist on Radio 5 live sports extra

I've just popped out the back of the commentary box and done the wind dance.

40km remaining

The pace is really on in the peloton. Chris Froome is right up near the front of the peloton, perhaps heeding the warnings of Rob Hayles.

Geraint Thomas is also keeping tabs on this, following Welshman Luke Rowe who is now leading the peloton. Movistar are moving Nairo Quintana up there.

There are vineyards left and right but nobody has time to sample the wares.

The increase in speed has seen the advantage of the four out front reduced to just 70 seconds.

On the bus?

A cracking spot this one. #bbccycling for your cycling look-a-likes.

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Let it blow...

Rob Hayles on radio commentary is pleading for wind to shake up the finish.

"Chris Froome shouldn't be too troubled," he says, before adding...

"If you start to get echolons where riders are overlapping each other so there is a long diagonal to shelter from the wind, a touch of wheels can lead to a crash.

"And if you have a puncture or a mechanical then nobody will be waiting for you. So you've got to be vigilant."

At least it's not Aru

Stretching it a bit there Jonny. #bbccycling

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What chance Bouhanni?

Cofidis' French sprinter Nacer Bouhanni has already gone further in this race than ever before.

In two previous Tour attempts, he has been forced to abandon after stage five.

He was also supposed to be racing last year but had to pull out with a hand injury sustained in an altercation with hotel guests the night before his national championships.

He has won three stages at the Giro d'Italia and two at the Vuelta a Espana but he's never stood atop the Tour podium

Nacer Bouhanni
Reuters

50km remaining

The race skips through Chamboeuf, an ancient-looking town, just south of Dijon.

The road is extremely narrow as it weaves between houses, only enough space to go three or four abreast.

With brick walls the punishment for a miscalculated corner, everyone knocks off the pace a little.

Lotto-Soudal, Quick-Step Floors and FDJ have been joined on the front by a Cofidis rider.

The pack rides in the peloton
Getty Images