A guide to the Tour de France
8th July 2016
Steve Cummings won Stage 7 today, from a breakaway, adding another win to Dimension Data's outrageously successful Tour de France.
The seventh stage of the 2016 Tour de France from l'Isle-Jourdain to Lac de Payolle had just one serious climb, the Col d'Aspin, 7km from the finish. There was then a descent to the finish.
Cummings was a member of the day's breakaway, then as it splintered, he joined three riders in the lead; when it looked as though they might be caught, he forged on alone. Up the Col d'Aspin, he was chased by the trio of Nibali, Impey, and Navarro, but rather than losing time to them, Cummings extended his lead. He was then able to descend to Lac de Payolle, and enjoy the glory of the stage win. His winning margin was 1min05.
Daryl Impey was second, Dani Navarro third, Nibali fourth, and Greg van Avermaet fifth (adding another 1min25 to his overall lead).
This is a video of the closing stages of Stage 7:
There was an early break which included Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish, perhaps with the points at the intermediate sprint in mind. The group's lead never exceeded 40 seconds, and at 45km, the race was all back together.
A second breakaway formed, with 29 riders, including yellow jersey Greg van Avermaet, Fabian Cancellara, Tony Martin, Vasil Kiryienka, Steve Cummings, and Vincenzo Nibali. Three of the breakaway riders forged ahead, and Cummings bridged the gap to them. When it looked as though they were going to be caught by some of the rest of the breakaway, Cummings went on alone.
Starting the climb of the Col d'Aspin, Cummings had about 30s lead over a group of three - Vincenzo Nibali, Daryl Impey, and Dani Navarro. (Van Avermaet was in no-man's-land between the Nibali group and the peloton). By the top of the Col d'Aspin, Cummings had about 1min05 seconds over Navarro and Impey (with Nibali dropped), and 4min18 over the peloton. He then only had the descent to Lac de Payolle to negotiate, in order to celebrate the stage win.
After the race, Cummings (eating an energy bar) said, 'I feel pretty exhausted. It was a hard one. I need to recover, because there are two hard days [to come]. I'm obviously ecstatic with the team, it's been a fantastic um...it's great to be with Mark, he's such a legend. Today was a brilliant day. I was a bit hot in the final, cooking up a bit, but I managed to...I just gave it everything to the top of the Aspin, and really the race had finished by the time we got there. Success breeds success, and Cav's a winner. There's a really good atmosphere in the team. It's great being around Bernie Eisel, Renshaw. All the boys here, Edvald, they're all winners. We want to win. Any person on our team is capable of winning a stage, and that's what we came for, with a clear objective of winning stages, so, we've had a good start so far. It's only the first week.'
There was an element of farce when the peloton reached 1km to go. The inflatable arch marking that point collapsed, causing Adam Yates to crash. Yates's bike ended up on the blow-up arch, and he finished on the tarmac, cutting his face. This is a video of the incident:
The commissaires announced that they would take the standings as at 3km to go, so nobody would lose time as a result of being stopped by the collapsing bouncy castle. Adam Yates was a few seconds ahead at 3km and at 1km, and he was awarded a time 7 seconds quicker than the other favourites, taking him into second place overall, 1s ahead of Julian Alaphilippe, and 7s in front of Froome and Quintana. Yates has also moved into the lead in the best young rider competition.
Thibaut Pinot was unable to stay with the group of favourites, and lost 3min04 on the Froome group.
CyclingNews has the full race results and overall standings.
This is the Stage 7 highlights video:
The 2016 Tour de France begins at Mont St Michel, in the Manche département of France. It tackles the Pyrenees before the Alps, and as always there's a final processional stage to Paris.
Stage 8 starts in Pau and goes via the Catholic pilgrimmage town of Lourdes to the Pyrenees mountains. The intermediate sprint comes before all the climbs, at Esquièze-Sère. This is the main French Pyrenean mountain stage, and it includes four categorised climbs, starting with the toughest, the Col du Tourmalet (HC). Next comes the 2nd Category Hourquette d'Ancizan, followed by the Category 1 climbs of the Col d'Azet Val-Louron and the Col de Peyresourde. From there, it's a 15.5km descent to the finish at Bagnères-de-Luchon. Read about Stage 8, Tour de France 2016.
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