Stage 7: Montpellier to Albi, 205.5km
Cannondale lit up this medium mountain stage to put the sprinters to the sword. They executed what amounted to a 130km lead-out to put the Velvet Samurai, Peter Sagan, in position to win his first stage of the 2013 Tour and establish a dominant position atop the green jersey standings.
I’ve had an open invitation to visit Astana’s service course for some time but, with the Tour de France looming, I thought it might be interesting to visit and see how the team organises itself ahead of such a mammoth undertaking. It might be fair to say that I was a bit like a kid in a candy shop and was guided round the pick-and-mix by the man in charge. Maxim Gourov, a former professional rider with Astana and 2010 Kazakh national road race champion. Continue reading
Today’s lumpy stage profile offers potential winning opportunities for both hard-working sprinters and classics men alike, including a pair of birthday boys who fall into each category.
BMC’s Philippe Gilbert is 31 today. The reigning world champion and 2011’s top-ranked rider – a year in which he won all three Ardennes classics and a hatful of other major races – has endured a winless season so far. He will be hoping for a second career Tour stage to celebrate with if he can get into the right move.
Should the finish come down to a bunch sprint, Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff, 26 today, will be hopeful of adding to a 2013 haul which already includes three stages and the overall at his home Tour of Norway, stage victories at the Tour de Suisse and Three Days of De Panne, and fourth at the Tour of Flanders.