Sunday's stage in the Jura will be decisive, says Froome

Aru signals Tour ambitions with blistering attack

The thrilling victory was the German's second consecutive stage win and third triumph overall at this year's event.

Froome believes he can defend his lead until the last day in Paris, although no team has kept the yellow jersey from day one all the way to the finish of the three-week race since Eddy Merckx's Faemimo-Faema held it throughout.

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"There is no big time trial for Chris to get that distance so it will open the race a little bit more".

As Fabio Aru impressively took the stage win, Froome was able to finish third and jump above Team Sky colleague Geraint Thomas at the top of La Planche des Belles Filles.

Arnaud Demare, to this point is the only other sprinter with a victory, so today's stage is going to be fast and furious, with riders like Andre Greipel desperately trying to get on the board before the general classification contenders come out to play.

Sagan, the world champion, was disqualified for elbowing Cavendish to the ground two days ago. Kittel said before the Tour he could only take green if Sagan was eliminated, and now he has his opportunity.

Boasson Hagen took over the leadership duties at Team Dimension Data after Mark Cavendish abandoned the race with a broken shoulder this week.

On a sweltering day in which the mercury pushed the high 30s, a breakaway of three riders - Frenchman Perrig Quemeneur (Direct Energie), Norway's Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates) and Belgian Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) - rode clear of the peloton in the opening kilometre.

Nairo Quintana was the biggest loser of the day, coming in 14sec behind Froome, leaving him ninth overall at 54sec.

On such days, Porte said, "there's nothing to gain but there's so much to lose".

"When there's a photo finish you always have doubts and there again it really was so close".

The Tour peloton covered 216 kilometres in stage six to Troyes and in stage seven, 213.5 from Troyes to Nuits-Saint-Georges. "I was in yellow back in 2013 (for the first time), that was a bit of an overwhelming experience", said the 32-year-old three-time victor. "It wasn't very long [160km], but they raced all-out, all day".