L’Isle Jourdain to Lac de Payolle was meant to ease the riders into the upcoming Pyrenees stages but it was anything but as the riders endured a hard day in the saddle as Steve Cummings soloed to victory after a superb breakaway.
The seventh stage was to be a teaser for 8 and 9 but it turned out to be one of the most exciting stages of the Tour de France so far, as Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) looked to claw some time back. And we also saw the Maillot Jaune in the breakaway which unusual for the race leader.
There was also drama at the flame rouge, as it deflated and came down on the chasing pack causing the organisers to give all the riders the time from that point, but for Orica-BikeExchange’ Adam Yates he suffered cuts to his faces because of the deflated flame rouge.
Stage 7 recap
For Cummings it was a sweet victory as he got over his Olympic snub with the perfect response by winning a tough stage in the most famous of races.
It was a superbly executed move which saw him ride the last 15km or so, on his own; but in truth Cummings has a knack for picking the right time to go, and yesterday he left Nibali, Daryl Impey (Orica-BikeExchange), and Daniel Navarro (Cofidis) on the Col du Aspin, and then all that was left was a descent down into Payolle which he negotiated well, which gave his team Dimension Data their fourth win from 7 stages, a remarkable feat.
None of the GC contenders lost any time; Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana, and Fabio Aru all got home safely. But for France’s brightest hope, it was a bad day at the office as Thibaut Pinot crack on one of the climbs.
Stage 8 is one of the climbers
It’s going to be another tough day in the saddle for the riders; and with plenty of climbs to keep the riders occupied we will certainly see a weaning out process of the riders who are struggling after tough week of racing.
After a week of barely seeing the GC guys; this should be the day where attacks will go off, hopefully left, right, and centre – the likes of Quintana, Froome, and Aru would most probably been saving their legs for the first real mountain test.
And this stage will most definitely be a test; there are four categorised climbs, the Col du Tourmalet (19km, 7.4%) will kick things off, then the Hourqette d’Ancizan (8.2km, 4.9%), Col de Val Louron-Azet (10.7km, 6.8%), and the Col de Peyresourde (7.1km, 7.8%) will follow as the spectators will finally see some high mountain climbing.
It won’t be a day for the sprinters, but there is a sprint at Ezquieze-Sere; but in terms of who could win the stage it could be a day for fan favourite Thomas Voeckler who has won twice at Luchon already, so a hat-trick could be in the offing, if the Frenchman’s legs allow him.