2017 Tour de France: Stage 7 live race updates, blog

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    The sprinters will have one more chance to fight for a stage win before the Tour de France heads into the mountains, with Stage 7 taking the peloton across 213.5 kilometres from Troyes to Nuits-Saint-Georges. Join The Roar for live coverage from 10pm (AEST).

    With the race about to enter its first serious mountain phase – Sunday’s stage in particular isn’t going to make the sprinters feel at ease – today is flat.

    Marcel Kittel, who already has a pair of stage wins looks to be the fastest man in the race and with another draggy sort of finish, it could suit the German to go for a third.

    Arnaud Demare, to this point is the only other sprinter with a victory, so today’s stage is going to be fast and furious, with riders like Andre Greipel desperately trying to get on the board before the general classification contenders come out to play.

    Starting out in Troyes, where Kittel won his second stage yesterday, the race tracks south-east through the Cote d’Or region. The first 135 kilometres of the 213.5-kilometre journey of the stage do go more or less on an uphill trajectory, but for the most part it will be barely a false flat, with just 400 metres of elevation gain.

    The intermediate sprint for the day comes on the long opening drag, after 108 kilometres in Chanceaux.

    Following the opening 135 kilometres, it goes downhill gradually for ten, before the only categorised climb of the day hits the riders. The Category 4 Côte d’Urcy is just 2.5 kilometres at four per cent and won’t have a bearing on the King of the Mountains jersey, with Fabio Aru locked in to hold onto it for at least another day.

    Once over the climb, the race undulates before dropping away for a pancake-flat final 50 kilometres into Nuits-Saint-Georges, where the last five kilometres go slightly up and down, before a straight ahead drag to the line.

    Kittel has been in superb form and despite his lead outs being interrupted, he is in prime condition to pick up a third. The finish is up his alley, and his team will drop him off in a good enough position.

    Demare and Greipel will again battle out the minor placings, but with an ever so slightly up and down last kilometre, watch out for Edvald Boasson Hagen, who has taken over the sprinting at Dimension Data and Aussie Michael Matthews.

    Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of Stage 7 from 10pm (AEST) and don’t forget to add a comment in the section below.

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,100 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.