Friday July 5th, 2013

Stage 7Montpellier / Albi

Start 12h20 GMT 2+

Sagan 1st after a 150km lead-out by Cannondale

Stage summary05.07.2013Stage 7- Montpellier / Albi

Generally a lead-out train for a sprint forms for the closing kilometres of a stage but if you have a look at the final 150km of the stage from Montpellier to Albi you'll be hard pressed to find a team other than Cannondale on the front of the peloton for longer than a couple of minutes. This was a day when their leader, Peter Sagan, was determined to win and ultimately he did. The credit for success must go to every member of the team that was utterly committed to delivering him to the line in first place. Not only did he win the stage, he did so on a day that his teams eliminated his main rivals for the green jersey. Sagan was first at the intermediate sprint and first again at the finish. He collected the maximum haul of points for the stage (65) and now leads yesterday's winner 224 points, to 130. The Slovakian champion was frustrated at having finished second in three stages in the first week but admitted after stage six that he had a plan: wait, be patient, and pounce when the other sprinters will have switched into survival mode.
The terrain on the roads to the capital of the Tarn, were anything but flat. It was a day of undulations but also featured three significant categorised climbs. It was on the second rise, the col de la Croix de Mounis, that Mark Cavendish, André Greipel and a group of 58 others got in trouble. A point was made by Cannondale: don't mess with our leader! And they rammed the point home by never easing the tempo until the race was won.

The progress report
The official start of the seventh stage of the 100th Tour de France was at 12.19pm. There were 190 riders at the sign on with Janez Brajkovic (AST) the non-starter. The stage from Montpellier to Albi was 205.5km long and featured four categorised climbs. The intermediate sprint was in Viane Pierre-Ségade (at 135km). Vanmarcke (BEL) launched the first attack and was briefly joined by Kadri, Voigt, Perez, El Fares and Gasparotto. Voigt (RTL) surged again after the original move was caught and he was joined by Kadri (ALM) they had a lead of 1'10” when there was a crash in the peloton, at 11km, that involved Vande Velde (GRS), Moreno (KAT), Quintana (MOV), Boasson Hagen (SKY). The American Garmin-Sharp rider abandoned the race because of the injuries he sustained.

Kadri takes a virtual lead in climbing competition
The maximum gain of the two escapees was 6'40” at 27km. Cannondale, Omega, Orica, Lotto and Argos set the pace of the peloton and the advantage of Voigt and Kadri dropped to 5'30” by 34km. The average speed for the first hour was 43.9km/h; the second hour 34.2km/h. The peloton was paced along by the same five teams until the top of the first climb; Kadri led Voigt over the top and the bunch was behind by 4'15”. Kadri led over the second climb too and put himself in the lead of the climbing classification. Rolland (EUC) attacked the peloton in the final kilometre of the col de la Croix de Mounis but he was marked by Bardet (ALM) who took third place. Cannondale was the dominant team at the head of the peloton and at the 100km mark, they were 35” behind Kadri and Voigt while Greipel's peloton was at 1'00” and Cavendish's group was at 2'00”. Voigt attacked Kadri at 107km and at 108km Kadri was caught and one kilometre later so was Voigt. The bunch split into three groups on the second climb. The average speed for the third hour was 38.3km/h. Malori (LAM) abandoned the Tour at the 110km mark.

Phase two: Bakelants attacks
Once Sagan claimed the 20pts for first at the intermediate sprint, the Cannondale team ceased its efforts and Bakelants (RTL) attacked. He was caught by Oroz (EUS) and Gautier (EUC) at 141km and by 145km the winner of stage two was the virtual leader of GC as his trio was 40” ahead of Impey's peloton that had an advantage of 2'00” on the second peloton. Bakelants led over the third climb and the yellow jersey's peloton was at 50”. With 50km to go, Bakelants was the virtual leader of the Tour with a lead of 1'00” on Impey's group. The average speed for the fourth hour was 46.1km/h! Cannondale did most of the chasing but Impey had support from Albasini, Clarke and Gerrans. With 10km to go, the leading trio were just 20” ahead, meaning Bakelant's bid for another day in the yellow jersey was essentially over. The peloton caught the trio with 2.8km to go.

Sagan secures his first win: a true team effort for Cannondale
The Cannondale team had five men at the front going into the final kilometre but a few teams had the courage to take on the green machine that had dominated the stage. Argos-Shimano seemed like it might have been able to pull off a coup thanks to John Degenkolb who opened up the sprint on the left side of the road but Sagan had this move covered; the Slovakian champion came off the wheel of the German inside the final 200m and took the win by over a bike length. It is the first victory for Sagan in the 100th Tour and his fourth stage win in total.
Daryl Impey finished the stage in 12th place; he will ride stage eight in the yellow jersey.

Stage 7 Montpellier / Albi

All about the stage key moments

Jersey wearers after the stage 21

Classifications after the stage 21

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These five riders have won sprint stages of the 100th Tour de France. Of these five, who do you think will win in Paris?

  • Marcel Kittel14.93%
  • Simon Gerrans1.08%
  • Mark Cavendish54.21%
  • André Greipel5.5%
  • Peter Sagan24.28%
14123 votes

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