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"We were in the lead and I was in the best position, but when Greipel started his sprint I told Jacopo to move out but I was a little bit boxed in."

Photo: Sirotti

ALEXANDER KRISTOFF

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JACOPO GUARNIERI

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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10.07.2015 @ 21:09 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

It was a fast moving sprint to bring stage 7 to a conclusion in Fougères on Friday after 190,5 km of racing and Team Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff used his lead-out men to make his bid for a stage win.  But the Norwegian rider found himself coming up short for the stage 7 podium, taking fifth place behind winner Mark Cavendish of Etixx – Quick Step.

 

"We were in the lead and I was in the best position, but when Greipel started his sprint I told Jacopo to move out but I was a little bit boxed in. When my lead-out had hit the corner I wanted to go on the inside, but Griepel came through too fast and I was blocked in. We did it as we’d planned, but it didn’t really work out as I was still stuck on the side. These stages have been difficult, especially with the final corners, but it’s the same for everyone. There won’t be so many other stages for the sprinters, maybe nothing more until the Champs Élysées in Paris," said Alexander Kristoff, referring to the final stage of the Tour.

 

Kristoff’s lead out men of Luca Paolini, Marco Haller and Jacopo Guarnieri hit the front of the high-speed peloton with 3 km to go and escorted the team sprinter through the final technical turns and round-abouts. Kristoff stayed on the wheel of Guarnieri on the right-hand side of the course, but Andre Greipel began his sprint early, forcing others to respond and Kristoff found himself somewhat boxed in for a clear shot at the line. The result was a fifth place behind Cavendish, Greipel, Peter Sagan and John Degenkolb, making the top five on the day the finest sprinters currently racing at the Tour.

 

"We were the strongest lead-out today but we weren’t really perfect. We went really, really good until 500 m to go but then we made a mistake. I was waiting for Marco to move onto the left as the road was slightly turning to the right but he didn’t move. I was half a wheel on his back so I couldn’t move to overtake him on the left. This forced Alex and me to brake because he stopped pedaling while we were still on his right side. When I started the sprint I didn’t know Greipel had already started his sprint so in the end I made the same mistake to Alex that had been made to me and I closed him out. These decisions are made so quickly that there really isn’t even time to think about them. We showed that we are the strongest but our mistake cost us in the end. There aren’t so many opportunities here to show how good we are but we will try again," said lead-out Jacopo Guarnieri. 

 

The stage from Livarot to Fougères took place without a yellow jersey riding in the peloton. The crash of Tony Martin in Thursday’s stage 6 resulted in a broken collarbone for the German rider and a non-start for today’s stage. At the end of the day the maillot jaune was awarded to Chris Froome (Team Sky) who once again leads the 2015 Tour de France. His margin to Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) is 11-seconds with another two back to Tejay van Garderen of BMC. Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez currently holds 17th at 2 minutes behind Froome’s lead time of 26:40.51.

 

Stage 8 on Saturday begins in Rennes and ends uphill on the Côte de Mûr-de-Bretagne after 182 km. At 2 km at 6.9% average, and some sections seeing 15%, it will be a tough finale at the end of 8 days of riding.

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