Italian Matteo Trentin won the seventh stage of the Tour de France on Friday to pile the agony on Peter Sagan. OPQS rider Trentin beat the Slovak by barely an inch in a thrilling sprint finish at the end of the 234.5km stage from Epernay to Nancy. It was the third time at this Tour that Sagan had finished second on a stage while he’s ended in the top five in all seven stages so far. Frenchman Tony Gallopin finished third while race leader Vincenzo Nibali of Italy came home safely in the front peloton to keep hold of the yellow jersey. But there was no such luck for American Tejay Van Garderen, who started the day 11th at 2min 11sec but lost another 58sec after crashing around 16km out on a speedy and hectic finale. His compatriot Andrew Talansky also came down in the sprint finish but as he was inside the final 3km, he was awarded the same time as the leading group.
After more than 200km of leisurely pursuit of a six-man breakaway, which had been whittled down to just Martin Elmiger and Bartosz Hurazski by the time they were caught, the race kicked into gear in the final 20km. The peloton was shredded by a short but tough 3.2km climb at an average 5 percent gradient, after which Van Garderen went down. The pace went up again before the final 1.3km climb at a 7.9 percent gradient which further slimmed the leaders. Sagan attacked over the top with Belgian Greg Van Avermaet but they were caught with around 1km left. Sagan still had the legs to challenge in the sprint finish but Trentin held him off by a hair’s width.
1. Matteo Trentin (ITA/OPQ) 5hr 18min 39sec
2. Peter Sagan (SVK/CAN) at 0:00.
3. Tony Gallopin (FRA/LTB) 0:00.
4. Tom Dumoulin (NED/GIA) 0:00.
5. Simon Gerrans (AUS/ORI) 0:00.
6. Daniel Oss (ITA/BMC) 0:00.
7. Cyril Gautier (FRA/EUC) 0:00.
8. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA/IAM) 0:00.
9. Sep Vanmarcke (BEL/BKN) 0:00.
10. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL/BMC) 0:00.
1. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) 29hr 57min 04sec
2. Jakob Diemer Fuglsang (DEN/AST) at 0:02.
3. Peter Sagan (SVK/CAN) 0:44.
4. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL/OPQ) 0:50.
5. Tony Gallopin (FRA/LTB) 1:45.
6. Richie Porte (AUS/SKY) 1:54.
7. Andrew Talansky (USA/GRM) 1:56.
8. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 2:11.
9. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 2:11.
10. Rui Costa (POR/LAM) 2:11.