But a trademark surge from Kittel saw the 29-year-old German secure a twelfth career win on the Tour and draw level with Erik Zabel as his country's leading stage victor.
Frenchman Lilian Calmejane came close to "catastrophe" before winning his maiden Tour de France stage on Saturday.
The overall contenders will be content to let a large group ride away for the stage win while closing marking each other on the final climb ensuring no time gaps.
Let the sprinters have their day in the sun and prepare for the next mountain stages this weekend.
It would be a disservice to use the B word - boring - for sprint stages such as Thursday and Friday's, both won by Marcel Kittel and, on the way here, with not even a wayward, windblown umbrella to disturb the torpor in the peloton for much of the stage.
"I had no clue whether I won or not", Kittel said.
"I'm not really pushing myself for victories because I want to break the record of Erik Zabel, I just want to keep it coming, stay relaxed and get the best from myself and for the team in the sprints, and then see how far that can get me".
Kittel said the absence of Cavendish and Sagan has altered the racing in that their teams are no longer battling out the sprint finishes.
Stage 8 of the 2017 Tour de France will give the most adventurous members of the peloton the chance to shine, as La Grande Boucle hits the hilly Jura region.
Froome s Sky team-mate and British compatriot Geraint Thomas remains second at 12sec with Italian Fabio Aru, the victor of Wednesday s fifth stage, third at 14sec. The French Guillaume Martin took third position, with a delay of 13 seconds.
The three-time victor is 12sec clear of fellow Briton and Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas.
The 24-year-old suffered cramps over the last four kilometres of the 187.5km eighth stage from Dole to Station des Rouses, but kept his nerve to finish 37 seconds clear of Dutchman Robert Gesink.