NANCY, France – Matteo Trentin of Italy won Friday’s seventh stage of the Tour de France in a photo finish, after two top American hopefuls went down in the latest spills of a crash-marred edition this year.
Fellow Italian Vincenzo Nibali retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey. U.S. rider Tejay van Garderen, a solid all-around rider with an outside shot at the title, crashed late in the stage and lost more than a minute in the title chase.
The sun finally broke through clouds that had dumped rain over riders in recent days for the 234.5-kilometer (146-mile) ride from Epernay, the capital of Champagne country, to the eastern city of Nancy. It was the second-longest stage of the three-week race this year.
Trentin, a cheery 24-year-old who won a stage in the Tour of Switzerland earlier this year, beat Slovakia’s Peter Sagan by what looked like no more than a centimeter or two on the finish-line photo of the final sprint. The finish was so close that the Tour’s website initially declared Sagan the winner.
Trentin patted Sagan on the back after crossing the line. The Cannondale star, who took home the green jersey given to the Tour’s best overall sprinter for the last two years, has finished in the top five of every stage this year but has yet to win. France’s Tony Gallopin was third.
“Honestly, I didn’t know that I won. I told Peter that he had beaten me on the line. Cycling is nice because anything can happen,” Trentin said. “It’s a good thing that I won two times.”
Trentin dedicated the victory to his Omega Pharma Quick Step team and its star sprinter Mark Cavendish, who crashed out in Stage 1.
BMC leader van Garderen was not the only American to have a bad day. Andrew Talansky fell in the final sprint, rolling over and scuffing up his left arm and ripping his jersey on his shoulder after getting bumped by Australia’s Simon Gerrans. But under course rules, Talansky, the Garmin-Sharp team leader, didn’t lose time in the title chase because his crash happened within the last 3 kilometers.