Tour de France 2017: Favourites eye a pivotal weekend after Team Sky's "dream start"

 
Oliver Gill
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Le Tour de France 2017 - Stage Seven
The riders had to contend with soaring temperatures during today's stage (Source: Getty)

The opening salvos of the Tour de France have been a “dream scenario” for Team Sky, according to race leader Britain’s Chris Froome.

Germany’s Marcel Kittel today edged out Norwegian Edvald Boassan Hagen by just 0.0003 seconds in a photo finish – equivalent to only six millimetres – on the 214km stage from Troyes to Nuits-Saint-Georges

“To have the yellow jersey since day one has been a dream scenario for Team Sky. It's been an amazing first week of racing,” said Froome following a stage that saw all the main contenders finish together in the bunch.

Read more: Cavendish's Tour dreams in jeopardy after horror crash

And after a calmer end to an eventful week, the eyes of the main contenders for the general classification were set on an upcoming battle royale this weekend.

Sunday's 182km stage from Nantua to Chambery is viewed by many as hardest in this year’s Tour. It is also one that will likely define the contenders for the race leader’s yellow jersey by the time the cycling circus reaches Paris two weeks later.

The stage's final climb, up the steep Mont du Chat, is a repeat of one the cycling’s biggest Tour warm-up races, the Criterium du Dauphine, just a few weeks ago.

Froome laboured at the Dauphine, struggling to hold the pace of his rivals. But he was pleased to know what he was up against.

He said: “I'm grateful that I got a feel of Mont du Chat at the Dauphine and especially its downhill but I expect more damage in Sunday's stage than at the Dauphine because of the two climbs before the Mont du Chat.

The top 10 riders on general classification are still very close. We'll know more about each other after the coming weekend.

Froome’s British teammate Geraint Thomas sits in second place with Italian Fabio Aru in third.

Aru said he could feel the “riders are getting tired”.

He added: “Tomorrow it should be a day for breakaways but it'll be an important stage as they all are. After tomorrow it'll be a very hard one."

Read more: Chrissy says relax: Froome savours a calmer day as Sagan return is rejected

Stage result

RANK RIDER TEAM TIMES GAP
1 KITTEL MARCEL QUICK - STEP FLOORS 05H 03' 18''
2 BOASSON HAGEN EDVALD TEAM DIMENSION DATA 05H 03' 18'' + 00' 00''
3 MATTHEWS MICHAEL TEAM SUNWEB 05H 03' 18'' + 00' 00''
4 KRISTOFF ALEXANDER TEAM KATUSHA ALPECIN 05H 03' 18'' + 00' 00''
5 DEGENKOLB JOHN TREK - SEGAFREDO 05H 03' 18'' + 00' 00''
6 GROENEWEGEN DYLAN TEAM LOTTO NL - JUMBO 05H 03' 18'' + 00' 00''
7 SELIG RÜDIGER BORA - HANSGROHE 05H 03' 18'' + 00' 00''
8 BOUHANNI NACER COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS 05H 03' 18'' + 00' 00''
9 GREIPEL ANDRÉ LOTTO SOUDAL 05H 03' 18'' + 00' 00''
10 MC LAY DANIEL TEAM FORTUNEO - OSCARO 05H 03' 18'' + 00' 00''

General classification

RANK RIDER TEAM TIMES GAP
1 FROOME CHRISTOPHER TEAM SKY 28H 47' 51''
2 THOMAS GERAINT TEAM SKY 28H 48' 03'' + 00' 12''
3 ARU FABIO ASTANA PRO TEAM 28H 48' 05'' + 00' 14''
4 MARTIN DANIEL QUICK - STEP FLOORS 28H 48' 16'' + 00' 25''
5 PORTE RICHIE BMC RACING TEAM 28H 48' 30'' + 00' 39''
6 YATES SIMON ORICA - SCOTT 28H 48' 34'' + 00' 43''
7 BARDET ROMAIN AG2R LA MONDIALE 28H 48' 38'' + 00' 47''
8 CONTADOR ALBERTO TREK - SEGAFREDO 28H 48' 43'' + 00' 52''
9 QUINTANA NAIRO MOVISTAR TEAM 28H 48' 45'' + 00' 54''
10 MAJKA RAFAL BORA - HANSGROHE 28H 48' 52'' + 01' 01''

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