With Tadej Pogacar in yellow for the first summit finish of this year’s Tour de France, stage 7 had a certain air of inevitability as to the outcome. And while the results will name Pog as the stage winner, what it doesn’t say is that the final one hundred metres on La Super Planche des Belles Filles was the location of some of the most exciting racing we’ve seen this year.
Kämna climbs again
Today Lennard Kämna picked up where he left off in the Giro, getting in the break and riding fearlessly away to stake a claim for a stage victory. Today, he and his Bora teammate Max Schachmann made the day’s break of 11, including Cofidis’ Simon Geschke, Bahrain’s Dylan Teuns, and Bike Exchange’s Luke Durbridge. A UAE-controlled peloton meant a few minutes were all the break could eke out so it was in the second half of the stage, when the Cat 3s came calling, that the break turned against itself. By the time they got to the start of the Planche climb, Simon Geschke went off on his own, but it didn’t take long for Kämna to put the pedal to the metal and breeze past the Cofidis rider on his quest for glory.
This live tracking of the groups tells the story. pic.twitter.com/Mx5xacDH7N
— 🌻🌻🌻 🇺🇦 Beth 🇺🇦🌻🌻🌻 (@stuckinoregon) July 8, 2022
The double-digit inclines came thick and fast, but Kämna kept a strong pace, holding a rampant yellow jersey group at bay as he rode through the crowds on the mountain. Once under the flamme rouge, Kämna had 36sec in hand; on the gravel section, he began to ride most immodestly and the yellow jersey group had him in their sights. With the whole of Twitter screaming for Kämna to keep pedalling …
Lennard Kamna lost only 15 sec to the peloton on the first 3 km of the ascent, he has great legs. But that advantage will collapse when Pogi will attack. #TDF2022
— Mihai Simion (@faustocoppi60) July 8, 2022
… the maillot jaune makes his move
While Kämna was riding his guts out ahead, Rafal Majka was the last of Pogacar’s teammates still on the front. With about 800 metres to go, he signaled for Pog to take over and unleash hell. At first, only heck was unleashed, with the likes of Adam Yates and Geraint Thomas of Ineos, and Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo Visma) sticking with the tufted rider. A surge from Pog and the Jumbos were straight on his wheel, while the others started to flag.
A shot of Kämna showed that the yellow jersey group was catching up fast. The inclines by this point were a sadistic 24% but that’s when …
… a Dane attacks
Jonas Vingegaard picked his moment and swept past a surprised Pog, then immediately crushed the heart of Kämna- less than 100m to the finish line. Vingegaard had a gap on Pog and it looked like he was going to swipe the stage but Pog was in hot pursuit. Using the Power of the Tuft™, he nipped past Vingegaard to take his second consecutive stage of this Tour.
Such a savage finish required extra tuft power.. Pogacar had to utilise the power of 6 tufts to beat Jonas Vingegaard to the line. #TuftSquad #TDF #TourdeFrance2022 #TDF2022 pic.twitter.com/kMRdbkYckE
— Tour Edition of Anna Mac (@AnnamacB) July 8, 2022
If he were a seagull, he'd steal your chips pic.twitter.com/irNP7pjc8a
— David Bradford (@DeeBeeCW) July 8, 2022
Vingegaard finished right on his wheel, leaving cycling fans with the tantalising thought that maybe, just maybe!, this is the Tour’s yin/yang rivalry we have been longing for.
What a phenomenal finish!
— ITV Cycling (@itvcycling) July 8, 2022
Good day/bad day
Not only did Jonas Vingegaard have a good day (moving up to 2nd in the GC), but so did his teammate Primoz Roglic , who came in third on the stage (but for that cursed haybale on Wednesday!). Lennard Kämna ended up taking fourth, while Geraint Thomas crossing the line in fifth – not a bad result for the Ineos rider, who now moves into third place overall, with Adam Yates fourth on GC. However, Bora’s GC hopeful Aleksandr Vlasov got dropped in the last few kilometres and dropped from 7th on GC to 12th, 2.41 down from Pogacar.
Vingegaard: ‘Tried to win the stage. Opened a bit early, but no regrets. The last K was very brutal and UAE rode a hard pace. Would’ve liked to win as he caught me in the end, but confirming that I’m going really well. Thought I could win, but good ride from him also’ #TdF2022
— Dennis Korsbæk Præst (@DennisPraest) July 8, 2022
"I had my family at the top of the climb, it was a really special day, we opened a foundation for cancer research today, I'm wearing special shoes for it"
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 8, 2022
All this talk of Pogacar being unbeatable, we forget how quickly fortunes change in cycling. #TDF2022
— Lochalsh Rob (@BDhearg) July 8, 2022
Geraint Thomas: "I'd like to say I was holding something back, but … "
— daniel mcmahon (@cyclingreporter) July 8, 2022
Primoż Roglič on today's stage: "Every pedal stroke is like a knife in the back." #TDF2022
— Aindriú O'Shea (@SadhbhOS) July 8, 2022
😵There is no doubt on the effort!
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 8, 2022
They moved the finish line a few metres further so that riders don't collapse on the line and can freewheel but many are so empty they need staff to catch them. Meintjes has to run the final metres pic.twitter.com/y77e3FhXhn
— the Inner Ring (@inrng) July 8, 2022
With @simongeschke bossing the breakaway and Martin vaulting up GC, I think we can all agree that Cofidis are the moral victors today.
— Journal Velo (@JournalVelo) July 8, 2022
The last word
Balls, played with today.
— nyvelocity (@nyvelocity) July 8, 2022
Top 5 Stage 7
1 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 3:58:40
2 Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) same time
3 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +0:12
4 Lennard Kamna (Bora-hansgrohe) +0:14
5 Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) same time
GC Top 10
1 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 24:43:14
2 Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +0:35
3 Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) +1:10
4 Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) +1:18
5 David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) +1:31
6 Romain Bardet (Team DSM) +1:32
7 Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) +1:35
8 Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) +1:37
9 Enric Mas (Movistar) +1:43
10 Daniel Martinez (Ineos Grenadiers) +1.55
All the Jerseys
Leader’s jersey Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates)
Points jersey : Wout van Aert (Jumbo Visma)
King of the Mountains: Magnus Cort (EF Education-Easy Post)
Best young rider: Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates)
Team : INEOS Grenadiers
For full stage reviews, go to cyclingnews
Official Tour de France website is here