Primoz Roglic suffered a major meltdown as Ecuador’s Ricard Carapaz potentially emerged as the only rider able to challenge defending champion Tadej Pogacar for the Tour de France title at the end of a brutal seventh stage on Friday.
Last year’s runner-up Roglic cracked in the last climb of an undulating stage in central France, which was won by his fellow Slovenian Matej Mohoric from a big breakaway group.
Roglic finished the 249.1-km ride from Vierzon almost four minutes behind the peloton, which featured the other top overall contenders with Carapaz launching a late attack before eventually being reined in.
Italian Vincenzo Nibali, the 2014 champion, featured in the 28-man breakaway with yellow jersey holder Mathieu van der Poel and seized the opportunity to move up in the rankings before the race hits the moutains in the Jura and the Alps on Saturday.
Overall, Van der Poel leads Belgian Wout van Aert by 30 seconds with Slovenian Pogacar in fifth place, 3:43 off the pace and Nibali in sixth, 29 seconds behind Pogacar.
Carapaz, whose move suggested he has the legs to challenge Pogacar in the mountains, is in 12th position, 5:19 behind Van der Poel.
His Ineos-Grenadiers team mate Geraint Thomas, the 2018 champion, managed to finish in the main bunch but struggled in the last ascent – a worrying omen before Saturday’s eighth stage, a mountain trek to Le Grand Bornand. Reuters
General classification top 10 after stage seven
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) keeps hold of the leader’s yellow jersey and the Dutchman will take a 30sec lead over Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) into Saturday’s stage, while Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick Step) is 1min 49sec off the pace.
There will surely be questions asked inside the Jumbo-Visma camp now after Primoz Roglic lost almost four minutes on Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), a result that saw him plummet 23 places to 33rd on general classification, 9min 11sec behind Van der Poel and 5min 28sec adrift of the defending champion. Is Roglic’s challenge over? Does the team throw its weight behind Jonas Vingegaard, or do they believe Van Aert can hang on in the high mountains?
Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious) moves up to fourth ahead of Pogacar, and the wily old campaigner Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) is up to sixth, 4min 12sec off the maillot jaune. Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) drops one place to 13th, 5min 29sec off the lead and 10sec behind team-mate Richard Carapaz who himself dropped three places on general classification to 12th overall.
Roglic crawls over the line
Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) crosses the line alongside Simon Geschke (Cofidis) and Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) not far off four minutes behind Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates). For whatever reason Roglic had no team-mates with him which is a worrying sign: has the Dutch squad given up any hope that he can win this Tour?
Carapaz is caught on the line
After all that hard work from Richard Carapaz, the Ineos Grenadiers rider is caught on the line. Still no news or sight of Primoz Roglic, but it looks like it will be a day to forget for the Jumbo-Visma leader.
Van der Poel retains yellow
Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), the winner of Milan-Sanremo in March, takes runners-up spot, Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo) is third. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) crosses shortly afterwards to keep hold of the leader’s yellow jersey, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) moves up to second on general classification.
Mohoric wins stage seven at the Tour!
He has done it, Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious) has completed the set with a thoroughly deserved victory in the longest stage at this year’s Tour de France and the longest in the world’s biggest bike race for over two decades. Having already won Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España stages, the Slovenian now has a Tour win on his palmarès.
1km to go
Matej Mohoric flies beneath the flamme rouge as the Bahrain Victorious rider is cheered on by the roadside fans, moments away from victory. Unsurprisingly, the amiable 26-year-old is grinning ear-to-ear as he nears arguably the greatest win of his career.
1.5km to go
Matej Mohoric is just minutes away, surely, from winning this stage.
2.5km to go
Richard Carapaz bridges over to team-mate Dylan van Baarle. Time for a two-up time trial for the Ineos Grenadiers pair.
3.5km to go
Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel ride shoulder-to-shoulder, chatting as they plough on towards the line.
5km to go
Richard Carapaz has gained 45sec on Tadej Pogacar, around two thirds of the time he lost in that time trial on Wednesday.
Van Aert vs Van der Poel: Part VVVXIII
Wout van Aert opens his legs up, but Mathieu van der Poel is straight onto him. The old rivals are glued to each other here today, just as they have been sine their junior years across almost all terrain. The pair trail Matej Mohoric, but will be gaining time on Tadej Pogacar.
7.8km to go
Another climb, another point in the account atop the category for côte de la Gourloye for Matej Mohoric. The Bahrain Victorious rider will, surely, be winning stage seven at the Tour de France today. Back down the road and Richard Carapaz, the recent winner of the Tour de Suisse, is flying and gaining some of the time he lost in Wednesday’s 27.2km time trial.
10km to go
Richard Carapaz is gaining some valuable seconds on Tadej Pogacar having attacked on that last climb, but can the Ineos Grenadiers rider hold on? No sign of Primoz Roglic, but I think he is still riding on his lonesome.
12km to go
Matej Mohoric is the lone leader of this stage and should, barring disaster, be winning this stage today. Patrick Konrad is in pursuit, though trails by 1min 16sec, while the maillot jaune is another 30sec down the road.
Here we go. Richard Carapaz set flight just short of the summit of the Signal d’Uchon and the Ineos Grenadiers ride – a proper bike racer – is giving it beans.
15km to go – Roglic cracks!
Good grief, Primoz Roglic is struggling on the steep slope of the Signal d’Uchon climb and he is isolated. The Slovenian could be losing more time to his compatriots Tadej Pogacar here today. This is painful to watch.
17km to go
Matej Mohoric went over the summit of the Signal d’Uchon all alone to add another five points to his tally. Providing he finishes this stage then he will be taking the mountains jersey in a short while.
18km to go
Mathieu van der Poel has his shadow Wout van Aert on his wheel as the maillot jaune now battles with this nasty little climb. Vincenzo Nibali is watching closely, while Simon Yates is looming.
19km to go
Kasper Asgreen attackes from the maillot jaune‘s group, the Dane briefly blocks Vincenzo Nibali who was teeing up an attack of his own. Further up the road and Matej Mohoric drops Brent van Moer and Jasper Stuyven as the road ramps up to some viciously steep gradients that do high into double digits.
20km to go
Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) has floated off the front of the maillot jaune’s group, but the Austrian national champion has gained just 15sec.
22km to go
The leading trio are onto the category two Signal d’Uchon, the hardest climb these riders will have tackled at this year’s Tour. There are bonus second up for grabs to the first three riders over the top, but these riders will be more concerned with going for the stage win.
23.5km to go
Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) has been dropped by the peloton.
25km to go
Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels-KTM) is riding between the maillot jaune and the leading trio. It is full gas racing right now.
33.5km to go
Matej Mohoric adds another two points to his tally in the mountains classification which sees him climb to top spot in the virtual standings in that particular competition. It sounds as if the Jumbo-Visma rider that crashed a few minutes ago was Jonas Vingegaard, while back in the peloton Tadej Pogacar has just one team-mate – Rafal Majka – left for company up near the front of proceedings.
Crash in the peloton!
Looks like there was a slight touching of wheels and a few riders hit the deck. A Jumbo-Visma rider went down, and possibly a Movistar man too.
36km to go – the Shark attacks!
Vincenzo Nibali attacks off the front of the maillot jaune‘s group, but he is soon reeled back in. Interesting move considering a team-mate of his Jasper Stuyven is currently in the group leading the stage.
37km to go
Victor Campenaerts is dropped.
38km to go
The leading quartet are onto the next climb of the day, the 4.7km long côte de la Croix de la Libération. Each of these riders – Victor Campenaerts, Brent van Moer, Matej Mohoric and Jasper Stuyven – have won a single race this year. Mohoric, who was recently crowned Slovenian national champion, is the only rider whose win was not in the WorldTour but this terrain today suits him too a tee.
40km to go
Jasper Stuyven and Victor Campenaerts managed to bridge over to stage leaders Matej Mohoric and Brent van Moer a few minutes ago, and that very strong quartet has already increased its advantage on the peloton. In fact, since Stuyven and Campenaerts joined forces at the front that gap has grown out to 1min 45sec, while the peloton is another 5min 40sec down the road.
47.5km to go – as it stands
Leading the stage: Matej Mohoric and Brent van Moer
8sec – in pursuit: Jasper Stuyven, Victor Campenaerts
1min: Group containing maillot jaune, Wout van Aert, Vincenzo Nibali and Simon Yates
No man’s land: Mark Cavendish
7min 30sec: Peloton featuring Pogacar, Thomas and Roglic
52.5km to go
A flurry of attacks come from the maillot jaune‘s group, with Jasper Stuyven, Victor Campenaerts and Philippe Gilbert all putting in some digs. Mark Cavendish, meanwhile, appears done for the day and he will be rejoining the peloton in a short while once it catches up with the Deceuninck-Quick Step rider.
55km to go
TotalÉnergies are riding on front of the peloton, not exactly sure why. It may end up being a Total waste of Énergies. Back at the head of the race, Matej Mohoric and Brent van Moer still lead by 1min 2sec, while the maillot jaune has around 6min 25sec on Tadej Pogacar and the bulk of the general classification contenders. Incidentally, if this stage were to finish now then Wout van Aert would be second on general classification, Kasper Asgreen would be third while Pogacar would have dropped down to eighth, 6min 41sec off the pace of the flying Dutchman that is Mathieu van der Poel.
57km to go
Matej Mohoric and Brent van Moer are working well together, riding as if doing a two-up time trial rather than through-and-off, but they have not gained any more time on the maillot jaune‘s group.
64km to go
Riding into a slight descent, Vincenzo Nibali rolls off the front of the breakaway group as the veteran Italian looks to test the mettle of his rivals. Renowned for his descending skills, Nibali rarely misses an opportunity to turn the heat on. Does this mean he is going to attack, or is he just playing with the minds of the breakaway group? Mark Cavendish, by the way, has not yet been dropped by what is now the 26-man breakaway group, though one suspects that will change.
71km to go
Matej Mohoric takes the solitary point on offer atop the category four côte de Glux-en-Glenne which sees the Slovenian move up to fourth in the mountains classification.
72.5km to go
Matej Mohoric and Brent van Moer are onto the next climb of the day, the category four côte de Glux-en-Glenne and their lead has increased ever so slightly on the maillot jaune to 1min 3sec, while Tadej Pogacar and the peloton is another 5min 20sec down the road. Van Moer, by the way, has been hailed as the next Thomas De Gendt by the king of the breakaways himself and has landed a big win at last month’s Critérium du Dauphiné before narrowly missing out to – and ultimately being overshadowed by – Cavendish on Tuesday.
Does Nibali smell blood?
Given the number of injuries to riders in the peloton, it is hardly surprising to see that the rider who is nickname the Shark of Messina is circling here today. Having got into the breakaway the Italian who is one of only seven riders to have won all three grand tours has moved up to fourth in the virtual general classification. Nibali was in action at last month’s Giro d’Italia but failed to do much, hardly surprising considering he broke his wrist just weeks before its start, and one has to start wondering if he could genuinely be a challenger at this year’s Tour? Prior to all of those crashes in the opening weekend I think few will have backed Nibali, but everything has changed. Could the Shark bite back?
80km to go
All change on the front of the peloton and Jumbo-Visma, led by Tony Martin. shift to the front alongside his old sparring partner Luke Rowe (Ineos Grenadiers). Matej Mohoric and Brent van Moer, meanwhile, have stayed out in front after that last climb and currently lead the stage by 21sec, while the maillot jaune is around six minutes ahead of Tadej Pogacar and the rest of the peloton.
Mohoric and Van Moer open mountains accounts
The first categorised climb of the day, the côte de Château Chinon, has been crested with relative ease by the breakaway and Matej Mohoric took the two points on offer on its summit ahead of Brent van Moer who opened his account with the remaining single point up for grabs. Mark Cavendish, by the way, managed to hang on to the coattails of the group as it inched its way up the climb. Most of Cavendish’s racing this year has been in Belgium and so he has not done too much climbing, in fact he told Telegraph Sport a couple of weeks ago that he was flying off to Tuscany for a week – a week! – to get some mountain training in. The mountains could be Cavendish’s Achilles heel at this year’s Tour and so seeing how he copes in these hills today will be very interesting indeed.
As it stands . . .
Right, so what’s happening out on the road? It will surprise few to discover that a quite sizeable breakaway currently leads the stage. The composition of the group, however, may raise a few eyebrows.
There were a flurry of attacks from the beginning of the stage, though it took some time for anything to stick and once it did stick, boy what a group of riders formed in l’échappée royale – look at it: Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Soren Kragh Andersen (DSM), Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Dylan van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers), Jan Bakelants (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels-KTM), Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka-NextHash), Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo), Imanol Erviti (Movistar), Iván García Cortina (Movistar), Philippe Gilbert (Lotto-Soudal), Dorian Godon (Ag2r-Citröen), Ruben Guerreiro (EF Education-Nippo), Hugo Houle (Astana-Premier Tech), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), Christophe Laporte (Cofidis), Xandro Meurisse (Alpecin-Fenix), Brent van Moer (Lotto-Soudal), Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious), Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo), Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Boy van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Michael Schär (Ag2r-Citröen), Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Harry Sweeny (Lotto-Soudal), Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma) and Simon Yates (BikeExchange).
Quite astonishingly, the maillot jaune and maillot vert managed to get into the breakaway, as did former grand tour winners Nibali and Yates while Van Aert, who started the day third on general classification, also got involved. I can’t remember seeing the leader at the Tour getting into the day’s breakaway, but then I’ve never really seen an all-round rider in the mould of Van der Poel who just keeps on surprising us all. Aside from these riders, there are plenty of talented riders in this group more than capable of winning today.
Pretty much as soon as the peloton realised the breakaway had gone off up the road, UAE Team Emirates moved their entire squad up the front in an effort to manage their losses. With Tadej Pogacar starting the day second on general classification and looking the dominant rider at this year’s race, particularly following his time trial performance on Wednesday, none of the other teams, your Ineos Grenadiers, your Jumbo-Vismas, your EF Education-Nippos and so forth, appeared to be in no mood to help with any chasing. Some questioned why UAE Team Emirates bothered chasing, but if they did not then those up the road may have gained a huge advantage of 10 minutes-plus. Presumably UAE Team Emirates’s rivals will be more than happy to see them work hard today in the hope that it may tire them ahead of the forthcoming mountain stages.
Anyway, that 29-man group worked well together for the opening couple of hours and managed to gain over five minutes on the peloton before it reached to day’s intermediate sprint in Saint-Benin-d’Azy where Cavendish added to his tally to extend his lead in the points classification. The Briton now leads Jasper Philipsen by 66 points after just seven stages – I think it is same to assume Cavendish will not be taking any further points one the stage reaches the hills.
Once beyond Saint-Benin-d’Azy Cavendish and a few others dropped out of the the breakaway, though after having a few words with the Portuguese Ruben Guerreiro, the Manxman pressed on before getting back on with the stage leaders. Guerreiro, however, drifted back before a few minutes ago regaining contact with the peloton.
With 90km of the stage remaining, the 28-man breakaway holds a 6min 20sec advantage over the peloton as it approached the first climb of the day, the category three côte de Château Chinon. Here’s a reminder of the key numbers from today’s upcoming climbs . . .
So, what’s on today’s menu?
A little like some of the routes we are used to seeing at the Giro d’Italia, today appears, on paper at least, to be a stage of two halves. The opening 150km are relatively flat before a sequence of five categorised climbs help bolster the climbing in the stage which, once the riders reach the line in Le Creusot, will have reached the non inconsiderable total of 3,120 metres in vertical elevation.
Here’s a look at the all-important numbers from those climbs . . .
. . . and a breakdown of what points can be won in the mountains.
But what about those who only have eyes for the green jersey?
Catch-up: Highlights of yesterday’s stage . . .
. . . can be watched here . . .
Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage seven at the Tour de France, the 249.1-kilometre run from Vierzon to Le Creusot.
Following yet another stage that transported cycling fans back over a decade to an era when Mark Cavendish won sprint finishes for fun, today’s stage promises to be a wholly different affair. At 249.1km not only is it the longest at this year’s Tour, but also has more distance than any other day in the world’s biggest bike race for over two decades. Anyway, before we have a look at the route, let’s remind ourselves about the overall state of play in the race.
After finishing safely in the bunch after first helping Alpecin-Fenix team-mate Tim Merlier to challenge for the stage where he was runner-up to Cavendish, Mathieu van der Poel kept his top spot in the general classification and so will again were the maillot jaune, the leader’s yellow jersey. The Dutchman takes an eight-second lead over defending champion Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) into today’s stage, while Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) starts the day third overall, 30sec behind his great rival Van der Poel.
Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick Step) will wear the maillot vert, the green jersey, for the third day at this year’s Tour, the winner of the 2011 competition, taking a 46-point lead over Philipsen, while Nacer Bouhanni (Arkéa-Samsic) is third another three points back.
Once again, there were no changes in the mountains classification on Thursday, and so for the sixth consecutive day Ide Schelling (Bora-Hasgrohe) will be dressed in the maillot à pois, the polka dot jersey, a competition the Dutchman who was born one metre above sea level has led for five days. He wore it on behalf of Van der Poel for one day.
And finally, Pogacar will again wear the maillot blanc, or the white jersey, as best young rider ahead of Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) in second while David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) kept hold of his third spot after what was a quiet day for the general classification riders.