Michael Matthews finally takes his longed-for stage win, repaying the effort expended all day long by his Sunweb teammates and earning his team their second consecutive stage victory. Runner-up Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) came second and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension-Data) rounded out the podium. Chris Froome, Dan Martin and Rigoberto Uran were the only GC riders alive to the dangers on today’s finish and came in with the sprinters. Race leader Fabio Aru inexplicably finished 30th, 26 seconds back allowing Froome to retake yellow. Aru now lies second, 18 seconds back. Just over a minute separates the top-five on GC.
The longest stage of this year’s Tour de France was animated by the usual suspects: Thomas De Gendt, Jan Bakelants and Jens Keukeleire, who did their bit for breakaway fame. The latter pushed and chased and almost got the win, but were outfoxed by the cunning Edvald Boasson Hagen. Taking the shorter route around a roundabout, the Norwegian then took off at 2km and soloed to the line in what was his first win at the Tour in six years. GC classifications didn’t change, nor did any of the jerseys.
Another hot day, another long sprint stage in the Tour de France – the last one until next Tuesday – another break from the flag, this time a quartet, also pulled back before the bunch sprint won by Marcel Kittel, who continues his sprint dominance. This makes it all sound a bit Groundhog Day, but it wasn’t. The jury had to spend time poring over the photo finish, which seemed to show a dead heat before confirming Kittel’s third stage win imperceptibly ahead of Edvald Boasson Hagen, with Michael Matthews in third place. Kittel’s victory also netted him the green points’ jersey. Race leader Chris Froome and the rest of the GC contenders finished safely in the peloton.