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Live Reporting

By Peter Scrivener

All times stated are UK

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  1. 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
  2. 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."

  3. 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

  4. 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)

  5. 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)."

  6. 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
  7. 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...

  8. 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.

  9. 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."

  10. Green jersey heading to Kittel

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

    Marcel Kittel lunges in the sprint
  11. 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
    Image caption: I know you want a side-on shot but this is the best we've got so far!
  12. Kittel gets it

    Marcel Kittel wins stage seven of the Tour de France.

    Marcel Kittel wins the sprint
  13. 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!

  14. 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?

  15. Flamme Rouge

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

    Final 500m who is getting this?

  16. 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...

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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,

  20. 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