Tour de France contenders will battle it out in the Pyrenees on Saturday and Sunday, but Friday’s seventh stage produced a surprise shake-up of its own.
Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, with third place in the overall standings going into the day, lost 81 seconds to the other favourites to make the podium in Paris in two weeks. Another contender, Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz, lost the same amount of time.
Pogacar and Carapaz were the biggest names who didn’t make the front of a split late in the flat, 165km stage.
Belgian Wout van Aert led the final sprint for his second win in the last three stages, after most of the sprinters were dropped earlier in the day. The first finishing group also included overall leader Adam Yates, who keeps the yellow jersey for a third straight day.
But Yates is not expected to keep the lead into the final week. Pre-race favourites Primoz Roglic of Slovenia (van Aert’s Jumbo-Visma teammate) and Egan Bernal of Colombia finished in the same time as Yates, consolidating their podium ambitions.
Roglic trails Yates by three seconds. Bernal is 13 seconds behind, along with contenders Nairo Quintana, Tom Dumoulin and Thibaut Pinot.
South Africa’s Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) was 109th across the line after 3hr 46min 35sec of riding, 14:32 behind the winner, while Ryan Gibbons (NTT Pro Cycling) crossed the finish in 138th, some 15:54 behind the stage winner.
The pair are 129th and 143rd in the overall standings, respectively.