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Saturday, July 9, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

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Tour de France stage 7 reports

We posted the race organizer's stage 7 report with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner and GC leader Tadej Pogacar's UAE Team Emirates:

There was a spectacular duel at the finish line of La Super Planche des Belles Filles, with Tadej Pogačar winning the 7th stage of the Tour de France at the end of an exciting head-to-head with Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma).

The Slovenian of UAE Team Emirates finished off the work done during the stage from the Emirati team at the head of the group: the 10 members of the main escape of the day (originally 11, with the presence of Vegard Laengen, who then stopped to wait for the group) they took the final ascent (7 km at 8.5% average gradient) with just under 2min ahead of the peloton and only Lennard Kamna (Bora-hansgrohe) managed to resist the comeback of the squad of the main climbers , entering with a margin of 20" in the last kilometer on a dirt road.

Tadej Pogacar will start stage eight in yellow. Sirotti photo

Rafal Majka finished his effort before the gravel section and then with a counterattack at -250 meters, Vingegaard overtook the Slovenian and both overtook Kamna: in sight of the finish line, the captain of the UAE Team Emirates used his power to take his second win in this Grande Boucle.

Third place went to Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).

Thanks to the bonus for the victory, Pogačar’s advantage over Vingegaard in the overall standings has risen to 35 “; with 3rd place for Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) at 1’10 “.

Pogačar: “It was a difficult stage, especially in the last part of the climb, when Jonas attacked. The day was special, my girlfriend and my family were also present near the finish line: today we opened a foundation for research against cancer and I wore special shoes to underline this initiative, so I’m happy I got the most out of it.

"Success in this stage has been on my list of goals for a long time, ever since the route of the 2022 edition of the Tour was presented. We gained a few more seconds over our rivals, but the advantage is never enough, especially with strong opponents like Vingegaard, one of the best climbers in the world ”.

The 8th stage will start from Dole and will end after 186.3 km (with a 3rd category GPM and two 4th category GPM).

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Here's the report from second-place Jonas Vingegaard's Jumbo-Visma team:

Jonas Vingegaard had just missed out on a stage win in the seventh stage of the Tour de France. The Dane of Team Jumbo-Visma seemed to be on his way to victory, but Tadej Pogacar passed him a few metres before the finish. Primoz Roglic rode to third place in the wake of the duo.

Vingegaard getting help staying up after crossing the finish line. Sirotti photo

A strong ten-rider front group rode away from the peloton. Due to some obstacles along the way, the leading group thinned out and six riders began the seven-kilometre final climb with a one-minute lead. The last kilometre scared the riders quite a bit due to gradients up to twenty percent and an unpaved path.

The last remaining escapee, Lennard Kämna, seemed to be on his way to the stage win, but the classification riders decided otherwise. Vingegaard rushed past the German in the last hundred metres and appeared to be on his way to his first Tour stage win, but with an ultimate effort, Pogacar pushed his wheel over the line just a bit earlier than the Dane. In the background, Roglic grabbed third place.

Vingegaard, the number two in the general classification after stage seven, had mixed feelings. "I felt super strong on the climb and I am thrilled with that. However, it is a shame that I was caught in the last metres. As a team, we have two riders on the podium today. That is a signal that the form is good. We need that level to compete in the coming mountain stages. I'm not downhearted after this second place. The feeling of the good form of Primoz and me prevails", Vingegaard said.

"I can be satisfied with my classification today", Roglic said. "The pain after my crash the day before yesterday is no excuse for me and I refuse to give up. I will keep fighting no matter what. The recovery will improve day by day. Today's last few hundred metres were very tough, but I fought my way to the top. We did well as a team."

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Here's the report from fourth place Lennard Kämna's Team Bora-hansgrohe:

Offensive riding was a term used quite often from BORA – hansgrohe before the start of the Tour de France and today the team proved they are here to ride offensive. After another fast start and plenty of attacks finally a break of 11 riders went clear from the bunch including Lennard Kämna and Max Schachmann. When the gap increased to around three minutes Max was virtual leader of the Tour, but Team UAE started to chase hard to defend the yellow jersey.

On the first climb of the day the BORA – hansgrohe duo dropped most of their companions and with a lead of 1’50’’ five riders entered the final climb at the front of the race. Lennard attacked with less than four kilometers to the line, and with an incredible effort he still had 30’’ left against the GC favorites on the foot of the gravel road on top of Planche des Belles Filles. Unfortunately, Aleks Vlasov was already dropped from the GC group at that point as he suffered from his crash yesterday. In the end Lennard was caught with just 150m to go in a heartbreaking final, as Tadej Pogacar took another win.

For a while it looked like Lennard Kämna might win the stage. Sirotti photo

“Well, this is a real pity, but there is nothing I could have done better. I gave it my all until the end and couldn’t have gone faster a single second. Max pulled a lot for me as he didn’t have the best day and we decided quite early to go for me. The bunch didn’t allow us a big gap and therefore we attacked already early from that breakaway to try everything we can to gain time. But it wasn’t enough in the end on that last 150m meters. But we entertained the fans I think, and I am proud how we presented us as a team.” – Lennard Kämna

“It was really hard for me today. I had a lot of muscle pain in my lower back and especially in the second half of the race I suffered a lot. When I lost contact to the GC group, I tried to find a rhythm to limit the time loss. Of course, this is disappointing, it was a bad day. But I hope to recover and then the Tour is still long.” – Aleksandr Vlasov

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And here’s the Tour report from sixth-place David Gaudu’s Team Groupama-FDJ:

Although the first week of the Tour could ruin everyone’s hopes, the first real test for the GC leaders was this Friday, on the now famous Super Planche des Belles Filles. At the top of this climb, dear to Thibaut Pinot, his teammate David Gaudu lived up to expectations and once again fought with the best until the last metres. Perfectly supported in the final, the French rider gave his all on the gravel section and on the last steep slopes to take a superb sixth place in stage 7. Doing so, he moved up to fifth place overall, 1’31 behind the yellow jersey.

David Gaudu finishes sixth. Sirotti photo

One man was looking forward to this stage 7 more than any other. Towards HIS Planche des Belles Filles, featuring the last “Super” section, Thibaut Pinot was the obvious man of the day. Ten years to the day after his first win in the Tour de France, which he obtained the day after the very first visit of the Tour on the same Planche, the French climber was for sure at the centre of the attention. From the start in Tomblaine, and during the first hour of racing, he was therefore right up there in the first part of the bunch, following the attacks.

“His mission was getting into the big moves”, said Marc Madiot. “If a group of twenty riders was going, he had to go with them, but there were not such moves”. Despite numerous efforts, sometimes supported by his teammates, the climber from Melisey wasn’t able to get into the breakaway of eleven rider that made a gap after fifty kilometres. “It was really hard for the climbers to join the break at the start, and in the end, there were almost only non-climbers up front”, said Thibaut. “It would have been nice to have him in the breakaway but we knew it would be difficult with so many attempts”, Philippe added. “Also, besides our desire to win stages, the goal remains to help David secure a good GC”.

The tactics therefore entirely refocused on the young man from Brittany when the race was settled. The latter took it quite easy the whole stage while the yellow jersey Tadej Pogacar’s UAE Team Emirates didn’t give much space to the day’s fugitives.

After having covered 160 kilometres at a high speed, the last men standing from the leading group had only a 1-30 lead starting the Super Planche des Belles Filles (7km at 8,5%). Thanks to an excellent pull from Stefan Küng at the top of the penultimate hill, David Gaudu was able to tackle the descent in a good position and to enter the final climb the right way. Kevin Geniets, Valentin Madouas, Thibaut Pinot and Michael Storer moved up alongside him on the very first slopes. Then, the selection started from the back.

“Antoine and Olivier did a great job in the first part of the stage, then Stefan, Kevin, Val and finally Michael perfectly took over”, said Philippe. The Australian also impressed, ending up being the last teammate of David Gaudu as the yellow jersey group was reduced to just twenty men before the flamme rouge. “The team is going strong, Michael Storer was with David until the last kilometre”, Marc was pleased to say. “We had saved him for these finishes, and he’s now up there, which is good”.

In the final, the yellow jersey Pogacar took control himself and David Gaudu followed the wheels until the last three hundred meters. He then lost some ground but fought hard until the line to take sixth place, nineteen seconds behind the winner. Pogacar, again. “I’m satisfied, we are where we wanted to be”, said Marc. “Two riders looked stronger in the last kilometre, but behind them, we are at the same level as the others. It’s very interesting”. “David did a great climb,” added Philippe. “He was where we expected him to be. We can see that he is clearly among the best in this kind of finish. We shouldn’t get too enthusiastic already, we should keep our feet on the ground, but the guys again did the stage we expected of them, and we are confident”.

“Eventually, it’s a good day”, David commented later. “We are still on track for the goal we set ourselves, about 20 seconds off the podium. I had good feelings, not the best ever, but they were ok. The team did a great job, and everyone was there. To have the public behind you, hear it shouting “Allez Thibaut, Allez David”, that’s really nice. I am fifth among the favourites, but I must stay focused. The Tour has only just begun, this was only the first test. We are very happy with the start of the Tour, but the hardest part is coming, and everything can still happen”.

Thanks to his excellent performance today, David Gaudu also moved up in the general classification. After one week of racing, he is now fifth overall, 1’31 behind the yellow jersey. As for Thibaut Pinot (31st), he wasn’t able to play with the best on Friday. This didn’t stop the crowd from giving him a very warm welcome. “The atmosphere was magical, as always”, said the man from the area. “The public was up to the task. I wasn’t, it’s a shame, but I want to thank them for their support. It was another great moment for me. I am surely disappointed as I always hope for better, but I knew that I was not yet at 100%. I still need a few days. I also spent a lot of energy in the first hour and I paid for it in the final. However, the most important thing is that David did a good climb, he is still in the mix, so everything is going well for us”.

“Thibaut hasn’t found his complete form yet, which is normal after the Covid, but I think that we will see a great Pinot in the Alps and in the Pyrenees”, concluded Marc.

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