Trentin gets stage victory

AP

Tour de 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, who crashed within the last 17 km, was the big loser on the day — with his fall costing him 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 km 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 Web site 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 5 of every stage this year — and second three times — 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,” said Trentin, who won a stage in Lyon in his first Tour last year. “It’s a good thing that I won two times.”