Italian Matteo Trentin won stage seven of the Tour de France by the narrowest of margins on Friday for his second career win in cycling’s most prestigious race.
The 234.5 kilometre ride from Epernay to Nancy was the second longest stage of this edition and despite it getting off to a slow start the finish was lightning-fast and crash-riddled.
A six-man break was swallowed up on the penultimate climb with 17 kilometres to go but on the descent BMC’s Tejay van Garderen hit the deck along with a few others.
He was back in the saddle soon after in an attempt to defend his 11th place in the overall standings but lost too much time and slipped down to 18th overall.
Another crash at one of the final corners before the finish line split the sprinting field, leaving only about 20 riders to make a mad dash for victory.
American Andrew Talansky of Garmin-Sharp then crashed heavily within sight of the finish line.
Up ahead Trentin and Slovakian ace Peter Sagan battled shoulder to shoulder for top honours which trentin eventually won courtesy of a photo finish.
It was frustration once again for Sagan who in the first seven stages now has three second place finishes – one fifth and three fourth places.
Frenchman Tony Gallopin of Lotto-Belisol was third on the day.
Italian Vincenzo Nibali of Astana survived the chaotic finale to easily defend his slender two second overall race lead over teammate Jakob Fuglsang of Denmark.
Sagan remains third at 44 seconds.