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Tour de France: Marcel Kittel collects third win in seventh stage

Marcel Kittel won stage seven of the 2017 Tour de France in a photo finish in Nuits-Saint-Georges. It's the 12th stage win of his career, drawing him level with German cycling legend Erik Zabel.

Germany's Marcel Kittel won stage seven of the 2017 Tour de France in a photo finish, drawing him level with Erik Zabel on twelve career stage wins.

After 213.5km from Troyes to Nuits-Saint-Georges, cameras eventually showed that the 29-year-old finished ahead of Edvald Boasson Hagen and Michael Matthews to claim his second stage win in a row and this third already of this year's Tour after victories in Troyes and Liège.

Reigning champion Chris Froome of Team Sky remained in the yellow jersey.

Sweltering heat

An initial breakaway group of Maxime Bouet, Manuele Mori, Yohann Gène and Dylan van Baarle opened up a three-minute gap just outside Troyes but, with temperatures reaching 31 degrees Celsius and the wind also playing a part, staying ahead of the peloton was always going to be a tough ask and they were reigned in with 7km to go.

The field approached the flat finish together with Kittel among the favorites in another mass sprint, Sunweb sprinter Matthews admitting ahead of the stage that all he could do to beat the German would be to "start my sprint early or try to get a hold on his wheel."

In the end, it couldn't have been closer, the cameras only confirming Kittel's victory on the finish line after a two-minute delay - which must have felt like an age for Kittel.

"I had absolutely no idea whether I'd won or not!" exclaimed Kittel after the race, adding that he was "very proud" to have equalled Zabel's record. 

 

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