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TOPSHOT – Team Bahrain’s Matej Mohoric of Slovenia celebrates as he crosses the finish line at the end of the 7th stage of the 108th edition of the Tour de France cycling race, 249 km between Vierzon and Le Creusot, on July 02, 2021. (Photo : PHILIPPE LOPEZ/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Slovenia’s Matej Mohoric took center stage on Friday as he claimed victory with a fantastic solo finish in stage seven of the 2021 Tour de France. He made his attack with just under 20 kilometers remaining, steering clear of three other riders in the lead group on the toughest climb of the stage.
That proved to be enough for Mohoric, who finished with a time of five hours, 28 minutes, and 20 seconds. Coming in second in the 249.1-kilometer race, the longest stage in the Tour de France in 21 years, was Jasper Stuyven, who trailed Mohoric by one minute and 20 seconds.
It was an emotional win for the Bahrain Victorious rider who has now won stages at all three Grand Tours – the Giro d’Italia, the Vuelta a Espana, and now the Tour de France. Mohoric was ecstatic after the stage win, saying, “I knew it was a good stage for me and I saw there was only one more stage after this that suits me so I focused on this. I’ve won at the Giro and Vuelta but this is the Tour, it’s the biggest race, so this is something else.”
Van der Poel extends lead at the top
It was also a good day for Mathieu van der Poel who extended his lead in the race for the yellow jersey. He joined forces with fellow contender Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) as they worked together in the race’s closing stages to separate from their nearest rivals.
Both riders achieved their objectives as they were able to catch the group of Magnus Cort (Den/EF Education Nippo), Kasper Asgreen (Den/Deceuninck-Quick-Step), Franck Bonnamour (Fra/B&B Hotels), and Patrick Konrad (Aut/Bora-Hansgrohe) near the end of the stage. They all finished one minute and 40 seconds behind stage winner Mohoric.
Van der Poel stretched his lead at the top to 30 seconds, with Van Aert now his closest pursuer. Rounding out the top 10 in the general classification were Asgreen (+ one minute and 49 seconds); Mohoric (+ three minutes and 1 second); reigning champion Tadej Pogacar (+ three minutes and 43 seconds); former winner Vincenzo Nibali (+ four minutes and 12 seconds); French star Julian Alaphilippe (+ four minutes and 23 seconds); Alexey Lutsenko (+ four minutes and 56 seconds); Pierre Latour (+ five minutes and 3 seconds) and Rigoberto Uran (+ five minutes and 4 seconds).
Roglic loses time as yellow jersey hopes fade
Van Aert now appears to be Jumbo-Visma’s main rider for the race after the capitulation of Primoz Roglic in Friday’s Stage 7. He struggled mightily after suffering crashes during the first few days of the race, dropping out of the peloton that featured the overall leaders on the final climb. He now trails race leader Van der Poel by over nine minutes, with his dream of winning the yellow jersey surely now over this year.
Ineos Grenadiers’ Richard Carapaz tried to make some ground on the leaders, launching a daring long-range attack near the end, but Team Movistar shut down his move. The Ecuadorian failed to gain any time on his rivals as a result, with Carapaz now sitting 12th overall, five minutes and 19 seconds behind Van der Poel.
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