Stage 15 was the start of the Pyrenees leg of this year’s Tour de France and the GC guys needed to do some attacking. Not necessarily to put Tadej Pogacar under pressure, but to separate themselves in the top 5. At the end of the day, the only team to have done something different was Jumbo-Visma, who pushed all the chips to the middle of the table and came away an exhilarating stage win for Sepp Kuss, some pox points and most combative rider for Wout van Aert and Jonas Vingegaard holding his own in the yellow jersey group and getting back onto the virtual GC podium. Did anyone gain any time on Pogacar? Did they hell …
Tour de France 2021 has already seen so much action, it would be easy to forget that this race only began two weeks ago. Each stage has had a unique story: there have been crashes galore, emotions by the truckload, and yesterday even witnessed history being made. But finally Stage 14 from Carcassonne to Quillan provided us with a conventional (and slightly dull) day in the saddle – and it almost felt like a relief!
Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) shrewdly claimed the stage victory after attacking his breakaway companions on the penultimate descent of the day and steadily building an insurmountable lead. Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Sergio Higuita (EF Education-Nippo) rounded out the day’s podium. There was also a small shuffle in the general classification as Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) moves up from eighth to second place overall. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) remains untouchable in the maillot jaune.
I’ve really enjoyed the first 13 years of this Tour de France.
— daniel mcmahon (@cyclingreporter) July 9, 2021
Stage 7 of the Vuelta a Espana was a feisty affair with a break that wouldn’t lie down and the ending in doubt until the winner crossed the line. In the end, Michael Woods of EF was the strongest (or smartest) of those that bought their ticket for the front group. The Canadian took his second career Vuelta stage win after attacking just before the flamme rouge. Omar Fraile of Astana and Alejandro Valverde of Movistar rounded out the podium. Behind all the breakaway action, there was little change in the GC top ten.