A master stroke for Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious), solo winner at Le Creusot, Friday July 2, of a lively 7th stage of the Tour de France where a royal breakaway of 29 riders blasted the race. The longest stage of the 2021 edition gave birth to a beautiful day, full of suspense at all levels. The Slovenian edged Jasper Stuyven at the end of the 249 km race.
Present at the front with Wout Van Aert, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) has not yet finished writing his beautiful story with the Tour de France. The Dutchman, who is discovering the event, continues his great love with the yellow jersey that he has reinforced.
Among the leaders, the big loser of the day is another Slovenian, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), dropped by the peloton and who lost nearly four minutes on this day. The second in the Tour de France 2020 is moving away from a first success on the Grande Boucle.
At the Creusot cinema, they screened “Le Tour infernal”, a successful remake of the 1974 disaster film with Mathieu van der Poel and Wout Van Aert in the role, not of firefighters on duty, but of arsonists. It was believed that Tadej Pogacar had dried up the competition after his stunning Laval time trial. In the Morvan, on a highly flammable course, there was a flashback. The future will tell if the UAE Team Emirates provided the bottle and the matches or if manager Matxin Fernandez had a hollow nose in letting Mathieu van der Poel and Wout Van Aert go.
The yellow jersey had not, however, hidden its ants in the legs at the start of Vierzon. Despite the 249 km on the program, the longest stage of the Tour since 2000, the terrain was conducive to a great blow from the Dutchman. He was not the only one, as evidenced by the fight to take the right breakaway during a first hour swallowed at 54 km / h average. The UEA, who were discovering race management in boss mode, put an end to a first raid by the van der Poel-Van Aert-Alaphilippe trio. The first two ended up coming out in a group of 29 runners which included clients such as Nibali, Gilbert, Asgreen, Cort Nielsen, Mohoric, Van Baarle, Cavendish and Laporte.
Good heads of stage winners, but not only… Letting a Van Aert, a Nibali or a van der Poel come off after almost seven minutes is to play dangerously with fire. The gap has steadily increased over the kilometers in the face of the too slow tempo of the peloton. Apart from a few pedal strokes from TotalEnergies on the flat, the Pogacar team felt very lonely to lead the chase, almost crushed under the weight of the race. We are far from the steamroller offered by the Jumbo-Visma the last two years.
Up front, it did not amuse the terrain until the first climbs listed in the mountain classification. The beautiful unit of the 29 shattered at Château-Chinon where Matej Mohoric took the points ahead of Brent Van Moer. The two men did not relax their efforts and went off as a duo. Only Victor Campenaerts and Jasper Stuyven managed to join them at the cost of a good pursuit. Four ahead, including three Belgians, and more than a minute ahead, the good shot was gone.
Already crazy, this 7th stage has entered another dimension as the Alps loom on the horizon on Saturday. While Mohoric, mainly known so far for his downhill position on the frame since banned by the UCI, took off on his own to victory in the strong percentages of the Signal d’Uchon (18%), Pogacar saw his teammates drop like flies. His main opponent too. Still on the ground, Primoz Roglic was irreparably stuck at the back of the peloton and saw his chances of winning a first Tour melt considerably. Pointed at 5’28 ” from his compatriot in the general after the 7th stage, it would be an immense achievement to see him return to the match.
Roglic in the net and the UAE on the edge of the abyss, it did not take more for Richard Carapaz (Ineos-Grenadiers) to attempt a blow in the final. The Ecuadorian was up to thirty seconds ahead but, under the impetus of Movistar, he saw all the favorites take him back at the finish line. A sword blow in the water which however sounds like another warning shot for Pogacar.
In the meantime, the yellow jersey is firmly placed on the shoulders of Mathieu van der Poel, who remained vigilant when Wout Van Aert tried his all to outrun him in the last ten kilometers. Apart from the Belgian, 2nd at 30 seconds and probable new leader of Jumbo-Visma, the other favorites gave way. Pogacar is sailing at 3’43 “, Uran at 5’04” and Carapaz at 5’19 “. Can he see even further than Le Grand-Bornand? In view of his fatigue on arrival, this day will leave traces but with him nothing impossible.