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

Fabio Aru claimed his maiden Tour de France win in Paris

It would be a disservice to use the B word - boring - for sprint stages such as Thursday and Friday's, both won by Marcel Kittel and, on the way here, with not even a wayward, windblown umbrella to disturb the torpor in the peloton for much of the stage.

It was the second win at this Tour for a French rider, after Arnaud Demare's on Stage 4.

Who can stop Marcel Kittel?

While Froome managed to stay upright, Thomas was flipped off his bike and landed in some road-side hay bales.

"That penultimate stage past year was worse than being cut by a knife", said Aru. "He's got a lot of pressure coming up".

Stage 8 from Dole today finishes at the Rousses ski station in the Jura Range, close to the border with Switzerland.

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"Sunday's a big, big day, with three really tough, steep climbs, for sure it'll be one of the toughest of the whole race", reflects Thomas.

Time and again, Aru kicked on with great determination to consolidate his advantage, also riding into the polkadot king of the mountains jersey.

Another Frenchman, Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), took third place.

Team Sky have been having it easy on the Tour de France so far as other teams have been taking on the pressure of the race, according to three-times champion Greg LeMond. So the decision of one of the journalists to ask the three-time Tour victor if he would back a Norwegian Grand Depart in a future Tour raised eyebrows.

"He's obviously going well but I think he's going to have more pressure on him now".

"Going forward we can not afford to allow Fabio that kind of a gap again".

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I've been telling Richie and the guys here that Irish porridge tastes way better than the stuff the team usually use but they didn't believe me, until they tried it last week.

The top 10 are now separated by one minute with all the big guns in there, including two-time former victor Alberto Contador, now eighth at 52sec.

Stage 6 has a rolling profile and we may see the faster riders try to break away early.

Since today's start line was across the road and the pan-flat stage ahead didn't suggest a frantic start, my team-mates and I made a decision to go for a coffee together and spent a while chatting in the sun before lining up for another five-hour day in the saddle.

When they reached the foot of the climb, though, they had a lead of less than a minute over the peloton, now led by the Sky armada.

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