The peloton, before it began earnestly chasing the trio.

Photo gallery: 2017 Tour de France, Stage 6

by Neal Rogers

Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) took his second stage victory of the 2017 Tour de France Thursday on a hot day in Troyes.

The big German sprinter came from behind to best Frenchman Arnaud Démare (FDJ) and compatriot André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) who took second and third, respectively. Kittel didn’t make his final move until 75 meters out, the headwind final making a sprint from behind advantageous.

Perrig Quemeneur (Direct Energie) was the first aggressor after the neutral flag dropped. Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Emirates) were in tow, and the trio quickly distanced themselves from the field. Their gap rose to over four minutes by kilometer 30, as behind, the main field took lunch and conversation.

With 20 kilometers remaining, the gap was under one minute. The pace in the peloton picked up, and a crosswind began to force diligent positioning for the riders in tow.

At eight kilometers out, the gap was under 30 seconds and the catch was inevitable. Quemeneur, Backaert, and Stake Laengen were finally caught at under three kilometers to the finish. Quick-Step Floors moved up as a unit with Kittel at the back of their blue train and dropped him off into the last kilometer in perfect positioning. It looked to be Greipel’s race at 100 meters out, but Kittel, from behind, sling-shotted out of the draft and overtook Greipel and Dèmare for the win.

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