Marcel Kittel takes Stage 7 in photo finish from Edvald Boasson Hagen

Cycling: Aru wins Tour fifth stage, Froome takes yellow

Marcel Kittel wins the 6th stage of the Tour de FranceFinal victory of Marcel Kittel this Thursday in Troyes at the end of a sprint of high level.

The threatened splits on the peloton did not happen, and there's no change in the general classification, with defending champion Chris Froome continuing to hold a 12-second lead over Team Sky colleague Geraint Thomas.

With 11 career stage wins in hand, Kittel needed one more to equal Erik Zabel for the most wins by a German rider in the tournament.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for Norwegian Boasson Hagen who looked all set for victory until a late charge by the irrepressible Kittel, already victor of the second and sixth stages, although far more convincingly.

As the other contenders bunched together on the right side of the road, Kittel burst forward around them on the left and easily created a comfortable gap allowing him to celebrate as he crossed the line.

"First of all I m going to enjoy this moment because I had a great spring and won the Italian title but before that I had a tough time", said Aru, who had to pull out of May s Giro due to injury.

Stage six: 1 Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step) 5:05:34, 2 Arnaud Demare (FDJ), 3 André Greipel (Lotto), 4 Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin), 5 Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis).

Sagan, the world champion, was disqualified for elbowing Cavendish to the ground two days ago.

"It's still very close in the top 10 but this weekend we will see where everyone is at".

Aru is third 14 seconds off the pace while Porte, last year's runner-up Romain Bardet, twice victor Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana trail Froome by at least 39 seconds.

On such days, Porte said, "there's nothing to gain but there's so much to lose". I was just a little bit empty when I arrived there.

A three-man breakaway rode out front for most of the stage.

Porte moved up to fifth at 39sec, with Quintana ninth at 54sec. It was quite a hectic finish but the guys were once again absolutely incredible.

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

Friday's 213.5km seventh stage will start from Troyes and finish in Nuits-Saint-Georges, with only one fourth-category climb.

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