Tour de France–2014–Stage 7–Épernay / Nancy–July 11, 2014
Matteo Trentin, riding for Cavendish’s Omega Pharma Quickstep won a tricky sprint into Nancy today, avoiding at least three crashes that took down big riders, and winning against big gun Peter Sagan.
It’s Trentin’s second Tour win since won the 14th stage from St-Pourçain/Sioule to Lyon in 2013.
Peter Sagan lost the sprint by mere centimeters to the Italian born rider who may have had some people saying “Matteo who?” in a finish so close that it at first race organizers thought Sagan was the winner.
The Cannondale rider was visibly disappointed by the results as he donned the Green Jersey, which he leads in by 113 points (the Green Jersey points runner-up Bryan Coquard has 146 points to Sagan’s 259.) Sagan’s goal for the day was to win this stage when he tweeted this morning, “Could today be the day?”
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) is still riding in the Yellow Jersey, followed by Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Peter Sagan, (Cannondale) and Michael Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma Quickstep.) Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol) is in fifth and Richie Porte who rides for Team Sky managed to edge up in the classifications to sixth overall.
Gerrans Takes out Talansky in Sprint
Andrew Talansky also fell within the last 500 meters, crashing spectacularly after a sharp turn. Once again, it was Simon Gerrans of Orica Greenedge who cut him off. It was evocative of day one when he collided with Mark Cavendish, sending the Isle of Man sprinter to the hospital–and out of the Tour. Though some journalists defended Gerrans after the stage, it’s becoming a bit like a pattern.
An earlier crash with Tejay van Garderen touching wheels with a teammate, caused the American to deficit by a minute and 2 seconds behind the peloton, and he is now 18th overall.
The Race in Detail
Today’s stage from Epernay to Nancy was mostly flat with two category 4 climbs at the end, but mostly a lot of tricky turns into Nancy before the sprint. The two climbs were at km 217.5 at the Côte de Maron (cat. 4), 3.2km at 5%, and at km 229: Côte de Boufflers (cat. 4), 1.3km at 7.9%.
That kind of course favored an early break that might or might not hold. But in this Tour so far, we haven’t seen any breaks hold to the end yet.
At Jalons, km 9.5, six riders were in a break ahead Alexandre Pichot (Europcar), Matthew Busche (Trek), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Martin Elmiger (IAM), Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp) and Anthony Delaplace (Bretagne-Séché), with a time gap of one minute and 40 seconds. At 67 km that gap had increased to 2 minutes 25 seconds.
Catalan rider David De La Cruz of NetApp-Endura told reporters this morning that there was a lot of fatigue in the peloton, possibly the effect of stage 5 on the cobbles.
With 75 km to go, Danny von Poppel (Trek) quit the Tour. At 66 km to go, the break’s advantage was down to 44 seconds. With 40 km to go, Edet, Pichot, Busche and Delaplace were reeled in. Huzarski and Elmiger still had a lead of one minute and 18 seconds. They were soon caught at the base of the cote de Maron.
Then Bernhard Eisel and Vassil Kiryienka accelerated at the head of the peloton, assisted also by Orica-GreenEdge. The pace being set at the front dropped a number of riders, including Kittel, Degenkolb, and Eisel.
Thomas Voeckler took a flyer off the front at the base of the first 4-category climb. But he was quickly caught by a chase organized by Orica GreenEdge, who then passed him quickly on the ascent. Yesterday’s winner André Greipel was also dropped in the côte de Maron. Démare struggles as we
In the peloton were all the general contenders. With 15 km there as another crash that took down Tejay van Garderen and a number of other riders. Van Garderen only had Amaël Moinard and Peter Stetina to help him get back to the peloton.
Tejay van Garderen was about 50 seconds back 10 km from the finish. Ahead was the peloton steaming for the finish where there would be another category 4 climb 5 km from the finish.
Tejay van Garderen’s teammate Darwin Atapuma (BMC) abandoned the Tour de France after being involved in the crash.
In front of the main field was Jens Voigt, Peter Sagan, Geraint Thomas. Tricky turns into Nancy and a final climb 1.8 miles long, and again another attack came Cyril Gaultier of Team Europcar, and he was chased by Nicolas Roche, Vincenzo Nibali, and Alberto Contador, then moving up was Alejandro Valverde.
Then taking off in the front 5.3 km to do was Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Greg van Avermaet, riding for BMC. Meanwhile his BMC teammate van Garderen was still trying to catch on to the main group.
With two kilometers to go, the peloton was coming up fast behind them. Sagan slowed as he realized the peloton would catch them before the finish. Astana was riding the pace at the front of the peloton with one kilometer to go into a tricky turn–and a nasty pileup that winnowed the group, then another crash just within the last kilometer that took down Andrew Talansky.