After two relatively boring stages the seventh stage of the Tour de France featured spectacle from start to finish. The strong wind created fans that pulled the peloton apart at different times.
Wout van Avert sprinted in Lavaur to his second stage victory this Tour, while Tadej Pogacar became the biggest victim of the fans. Pogacar was for today the number two in the general classification.
Bauke Mollema (eleventh) didn’t finish in the first group either when the first peloton broke into pieces about thirty kilometres before the finish. The group crossed the finish line 1.20 after the first group.
Dumoulin not in trouble
Jumbo-Visma riders Tom Dumoulin and Primoz Roglic rode carefully throughout the stage and finished in the first group, as did Adam Yates and Egan Bernal.
Before the start it was already clear that not the hills, but the strong wind could prevent a bunch sprint in the stage which only had three climbs.
Bora-Hansgrohe, Peter Sagan’s team, took advantage of those circumstances shortly after the start by turning the race upside down.
The favourites for the final victory of the Tour were not surprised when the Bora riders took the lead. They held their own in the first group, but several sprinters were thrown overboard by the Bora work, including Cees Bol, Caleb Ewan, Sam Bennett and Giacomo Nizzolo.
Bora’s work paid off in part, as Sagan picked up quite a few points for the green jersey in the intermediate sprint, but he had to settle for second place behind Matteo Trentin. However, he did take over the green again from Bennett, who couldn’t gather any points.
Courageous attempt by De Gendt
About a hundred kilometers before the finish it was clear that the unloaded sprinters had no chance to win the day. The group of Bol and Bennett gave in over three minutes, Ewan was even more than six minutes behind when Thomas De Gendt broke away from the peloton.
Race attacker De Gendt, already winner of a stage in all the big tours, attacked on the final climb of the day (fourth category). He took a maximum lead of fifty seconds. If anyone could sustain such a long solo, it was De Gendt, but on the way to Lavaur he didn’t succeed.
De Gendt was caught 35km before the finish when Ineos came around the front of the bunch and wanted to pull the peloton apart. Julian Alaphilppe, rider Adam Yates and Egan Bernal were also in the lead and the first group was halved.
Roglic, Dumoulin and Bernal were in the class, but Pogacar and Mollema lost the connection. The group with Pogacar was soon one minute behind.
Not much later Richard Carapaz, Giro winner in 2019 and helper of Egan Bernal, also got into trouble. The Ecuadorian was twentieth in the standings. Despite the help of Jonathan Castroviejo he ended up in Pogacar’s group.
Sagan falls short
In spite of all the work of Bora, Sagan was no longer involved in the decisive sprint, which Van Aert won. Sagan finished thirteenth.
Behind Van Aert, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Bryan Coquard finished second and third.