Marcel Kittel snatched his third stage victory of the 2017 Tour de France in a dramatic photo-finish from Edvald Boasson Hagen on Friday.
The German rider has been the man to beat in the sprint finishes during the first week of the Tour, but Boasson Hagen came within a whisker of denying the Quick-Step Floors rider on stage seven.
Kittel's team produced a perfect train in the final five kilometres that allowed him to launch for the line and somehow he managed to triumph, despite needing a photograph to declare him the winner.
It looked and felt harsh on Boasson Hagen after he burst out from the wheel of Dimension Data team-mate Jacques Janse van Rensburg, and from some angles it looked like the Norwegian had nicked the win.
But race officials declared Kittel the victor, somehow managing to decipher from a photo that appeared to show the riders cross the line at exactly the same time.
Meanwhile, race leader Chris Froome watched from the safety of the peloton, the Team Sky rider able to rest his legs a little with the Jura mountains looming in the coming days.
-- Le Tour de France (@LeTour) July 7, 2017
GOOD DAY/BAD DAY
Victory secured an impressive 12th stage win at the Tour for Kittel and he now just needs one more to equal his best performance in the grandest of Grand Tours, having achieved four wins in both the 2013 and 2014 editions.
He was not sure he had the win, but now takes over the lead of the Points Classification.
"I really had no clue if I won or not, I thought it was going to be close so I tried to make myself longer," said Kittel.
"I just prayed that the door opened on the right side and it was just enough."
While Kittel celebrated there was despair for Boasson Hagan, the Norwegian stepping up in Mark Cavendish's absence and coming agonisingly close to his first Tour success since winning two stages in 2011.
There was also frustration for Arnaud Demare in the green jersey as he struggled to stay with the sprint, the FDJ rider rolling home in 11th to hand over the points lead to Kittel.
1. Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) 5:03:18
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Dimension Data)
3. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb)
4. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin)
5. John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo)
1. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 28:47:51
2. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) +12s
3. Fabio Aru (Astana) +14s
1. Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) 197 points
2. Arnaud Demare (FDJ) 182 points
3. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) 123 points
KING OF THE MOUNTAINS
1. Fabio Aru (Astana) 10 points
2. Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors) 8 points
3. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 6 points
Enough of the flat routes, stage eight kicks into the Jura mountains with a nice leg warmer ahead of the ninth test - which will be a real brute.
Stage eight includes three categorised climbs from Dole to Station des rousses which might encourage a breakaway to go all the way to the finish, but the last ascent (a category one) could scupper their plans.