Matej Mohoric wins longest Tour de France stage 

Matej Mohoric won the longest stage seven from Vierzon to Le Creusot while Mathieu van der Poel defended the yellow jersey from the front of the race, riding in the breakaway group

Slovenia's Matej Mohoric won stage seven of the Tour de France on Friday as leader Mathieu van der Poel kept the yellow jersey against the odds by leading a breakaway on an epic 249km run from Vierzon to Le Creusot.

Matej Mohoric wins longest Tour de France stage

Defending champion Tadej Pogacar limited his losses and remains a force to be reckoned with, while Ineos's best-placed rider Richard Carapaz wasted energy with a doomed late breakaway before being caught on the line as the British team continue to suffer.

A mass attack after 50km of the longest stage in 21-years stunned race favourite Pogacar, as over 20 riders got away after a 15km struggle to contain them wilted.

The large escape group, all working hard to maximise the damage, soon opened up a seven-minute lead, leaving a sense of confusion in the teams left behind including the UEA and Ineos teams.

It was to produce an unexpected day of drama to round off an eventful first week.

Ahead of two tough mountain stages in the Alps, the rookie Van der Poel, who took the lead on stage two, is a defendable 3min 43sec ahead of fifth-placed Pogacar.

"It was just a brutal day, I haven't witnessed this often on the bike, or even watching a race on television," said Van der Poel, who insists the Tokyo Olympics is his chief aim.

"I just wanted to protect the jersey and followed my rivals in the attack," he said in reference to Jumbo's Wout Van Aert, who is now second overall at just 30 seconds after the pair came home with six other riders, a minute and 40 seconds after the winner.

Brutal shock

Pogacar admitted after the race that he felt the effects of his individual time-trial win on Wednesday saying he had not refused to chase and thanking his team, even if they lost three minutes on Van der Poel.

"I knew it was going to be hard when they attacked in crosswind, but I'm super proud of the team. I can't be the strongest every day," said the 22-year-old.

His countryman, stage winner Mohoric, climbed to fourth in the overall standings and claimed the King of the Mountains polka-dot jersey.

"It hasn't sunk in," said a visibly thrilled Mohoric. "This completes my set as I won at the Giro and the Vuelta," he said.

"But this is something else, this is the biggest race in the world."

Another Slovenian, Primoz Roglic, was the big loser of the day and was dropped with 15km to go.

The 2020 runner-up fell badly on stage three and now appears to be out of the running after losing 3min 50sec on the finish line.

With its hills, forests and sheer length, stage seven had a whiff of an Ardennes one-day classic, and Belgium's Wout Van Aert and Van der Poel of the Netherlands were key protagonists in forcing a hesitant peloton into a dramatic charge for the line.

Mark Cavendish continued his astonishing return to form by following the escape in the crosswind, as he often did in days of old, to win an intermediate sprint and take another 20 points in the chase for the green jersey before dropping off.

The peloton heads into the alpine mountains on Stage 8 on Saturday. The finish at Le Grand-Bornand will be preceded by 5 category climbs including the category 1 climbs of the Mont-Saxonnex, Romme and Colombière in quick succession in the final 50 km. A day for the best climbers and another tough day for the GC contenders.

VIDEO: 2021 Tour de France Stage 7 Highlights

2021 Tour de France Stage 7 Top 10

1 Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious 5:28:20
2 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:20
3 Magnus Cort (Den) EF Education-Nippo 0:01:40
4 Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
5 Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep
6 Franck Bonnamour (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
7 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
8 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
9 Brent Van Moer (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:01:44
10 Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 0:02:45

2021 Tour de France GC after Stage 7

1 Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix 25:39:17
2 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:30
3 Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:01:49
4 Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious 0:03:01
5 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 0:03:43
6 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:04:12
7 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:04:23
8 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech 0:04:56
9 Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies 0:05:03
10 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-Nippo 0:05:04

Tag: tourdefrance
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