Tour de France Report: Stage 7
Last day for the sprinters to show their stuff.
By Larysa Pachulski, 12:13PM, Fri. Jul. 11
The 101st Tour de France continues through July 27. Click through to read our report of Stage 7.
Location: E’pernay to Nancy
Duration: 234.5km/ 145.7mi
Terrain: A flatter stage (Two category 4 climbs both at the end of the stage)
Weather: 19C/ 66F – 15km/hr Winds
Why you should care: Today’s stage is the last opportunity for sprinters to get in a stage win before the Tour heads into the mountains. Stage 7’s route is another one that favors the sprinting abilities of Peter Sagan (Cannondale). The two category 4 climbs that occur at the stage’s end will take care of some of his competition, the rest will come down to motivation. With an 80-point lead in the Green Jersey points classification, perhaps Sagan will finally relinquish the opportunity to extend his lead and save his energy for a stage win instead.
According to the directeur sportif for Team Giant-Shimano, the rolling hills at the end of stage 7 were not suitable for three-time stage winner Marcel Kittel. With arguably the fiercest sprinter in this year’s Tour out of contention for the day, and the culminating exhaustion of many riders from the cobbles of stage 5, everything pointed to Sagan for the win today. “With two small climbs, the finale is good for Peter Sagan. That’s why we do all the work at the head of the peloton.” Said Cannondale’s directeur sportif, Stefano Zanatta. Team Cannondale did dominate the peloton for the majority of the stage, riding right up front gearing for the final sprint.
“Will today be THE DAY? #TDF2014” asked Peter Sagan on his Twitter account. At first we thought it was “the day”, until a still image of Peter Sagan and Omega-Pharma-Quickstep’s Matteo Trentin crossing the finish line was analyzed by race officials, who determined that it was Trentin’s wheel that crossed the finish line first. “When I win, people complain that I win easily and now people think it's strange that I don't win, but the reality is that it's not easy to win.” said Sagan commenting on the result of the stage, “there's still a long way away in the Tour de France and my day will come. At least I hope so.” There are still flat stages to come in this year’s Tour, and we are only one week in. If you are looking for ways to keep positive, do yourself the favor of following @TweeterSagan, Sagan’s parody account, and consider your spirits lifted.
Our first stage in the mountains begins tomorrow on stage 8. With a total of three climbs, all in categories 2 or 3, and the stage final ending on an uphill climb, tomorrow will be the first glimpse at which of our remaining GC Contenders really has the legs to win the Tour this year. Can “The Shark” Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) keep up his streak in the mountains, or will seasoned climber, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), take advantage of the elements?
Who do you think will win the next stage? Sound off in the comments board below.