NANCY, France – Italian Matteo Trentin of the Omega Pharma — Quick-Step team won Friday’s seventh stage of the Tour de France in a close finish, after two top American hopefuls went down in the latest spills of a crash-marred edition of cycling’s biggest race.
Astana team rider Vincenzo Nibali of Italy retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey.
U.S. rider Tejay van Garderen, a solid all-around rider for BMC Racing with an outside shot at the title, crashed late in the stage.
Van Garderen, who was born in Tacoma, lost more than a minute in the title chase and is in 18th place.
“It’s a tough blow, but the Tour is long, the race changes,” van Garderen said of the time loss, calling the crash “nothing major. So I’ll definitely be fine to start tomorrow.”
American Andrew Talansky, the Garmin-Sharp team leader, fell in the final sprint, rolling over and scuffing up his left arm and ripping his jersey on his shoulder after getting bumped by Australian Simon Gerrans of the Orica GreenEdge team.
The sun broke through clouds that had dumped rain over riders in recent days for the 145.6-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 of the Cannondale team 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 the Tour’s website initially declared Sagan the winner and Trentin said, “I told Peter that he had beaten me on the line.”
Nibali has a two-second lead over Astana teammate Jakob Fuglsang of Denmark.