After a sleepy start to this year’s race, today’s Tour de France stage saw more action than Julian Alaphilippe’s beard trimmer. The day had everything: Double crosswinds! GC intrigue! Green jersey hi-jinx! Shop-soiled white jersey! Only the polka dots managed to look after themselves.
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) won the stage, Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) stays in yellow but it was anything but business as usual.
All the action
Thank you, French weather! Thank you for blowing your winds on the race and turning the slumber into an assault on the senses. If you could show up a few days earlier next year it would be appreciated though.
Those lovely French gusts meant that Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) muscled his way back into the lead of the points competition and a whole load of GC contenders found themselves losing serious time ahead of the weekend’s Pyrenees stages.
Enjoy the highlights!
Wout and the Aert of Winning
What is there left to say about Wout? It’s his second win in three days on the 2020 Tour. That’s pretty impressive. Even more impressive when you consider he’s not just in it for himself, he’s doing a job for Jumbo-Visma. As the man himself said after the stage
“Straight from the gun it was hard…it was hectic. I was with Primoz the whole stage in the front, others lost time… so good day for the team.”
Want to be impressed some more?
The action kicked off early in the stage. Peter Sagan likes green. Peter didn’t like it when Sam Bennett pulled on “his” green jersey a couple of days ago.
Mind you, Sagan not in green doesn’t work for fans either.
So Peter did something about it. Actually, he wasn’t working alone. Sensing weakness, his Bora team (hello Daniel Oss – today’s most combative rider) drove a furious pace up the first little climb of the day. With some winds a-gusting, that was enough to put distance between Sagan and his points competition rivals. After the climb, Sam Bennett (DQS) was a minute behind, with Caleb Ewan (Lotto) even further down the road.
That left Sagan free to take part in the intermediate sprint and be reunited with his favourite tunic.
This could be the moment the 2020 green jersey was won…
Pay attention at the front
When Bora split the race early on, all your GC contenders and pretenders found themselves in the lead group. Later on, many of them would be finding themselves spat out the back. As the direction of travel changed, more crosswinds were predicted. INEOS bought themselves some insurance by moving to the head of the pack… and then this happened…
The split took a minute to form, the repercussions will last another two weeks. Most of the riders that you would consider serious favourites managed to get themselves up in the front group. Behind a whole lot of teams were changing their ambitions from “high GC placing” to “stage wins”.
Among those arriving 1.20sec after the leaders were: Tadej Pogacar (UAE) who lost the white jersey, Mikel Landa (Bahrain-McLaren), Richard Carapaz (INEOS) and Richie Porte (Trek).
It really did have everything
You could claim that this Tour stage had a bit of everything. We even saw a breakaway from you know who!!
It didn’t last though
The last word
Today’s last word comes from me: If you look at the results, nothing surprising happened. Wout Van Aert wins lots of things. Peter Sagan owns the green jersey. Richie Porte and Mikel Landa were pretty much guaranteed to lose significant time at some point.
But I bloody loved this stage! Action from the get-go, the world’s best riders deploying skill, power and tactics to win things, with added unpredictability brought on by the weather. It was thrilling to watch from start to finish, tense and nervous at times but utterly enjoyable.
Now… anyone for some Pyrenees?
Stage 7 Top 5
1 Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 3:32:03
2 Edvald Boasson Hagen (NTT- Home of Guys You Thought Had Retired) same time
3 Bryan Coquard (B&B Hotels – Vital Concept et al) s/t
4 Christophe Laporte (Cofidis Has Anyone Seen Viviani?) s/t
5 Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Stagewinsfromnowon) s/t
GC Top 10
1 Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) 30:36:00
2 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +0:03
3 Guillaume Martin (Team Cofidis) +0:09
4 Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) +0:13
5 Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) s/t
6 Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) s/t
7 Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) s/t
8 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) s/t
9 Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) s/t
10 Rigoberto Uran (EF ProCycling) s/t
All the jerseys
Leader’s jersey Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)
Points jersey Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe)
King of the Mountains Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R la Mondiale)
Best Young Rider Egan Bernal (INEOS)
Most Combative of the Stage: Daniel Oss (Bora-hansgrohe)
For full race reviews, go to cyclingnews.
Official race website: Le Tour
Header image: ©AFP/ Stephane Mantey / GETTY IMAGES