[Tour de France stage 7 LIVE: Mark Cavendish gets another record breaking chance
The full result:
1. Simon Gugliemi (Arkéa-Samsic) 20 pts
2. Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) 17 pts
3. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 15 pts
Mads Pedersen goes, then Jasper Philipsen and now Biniam Girmay… Girmay claims the second place in the sprint behind Gugliemi.
It’s an arrow straight road through the trees of south-west France. The bunch can likely see Gugliemi even though he must be around a kilometre ahead.
83km to go: The day’s single intermediate sprint is on the horizon. Gugliemi goes through first of course (he still has 1.58), but things are livening up back in the bunch.
The three kilometre rule has been extended to 3.6km today, to take account of all the technical aspects as the riders approach the finish. There are a multitude of bends, some of them very tight, and organisers don’t want a repeat of the crash strewn finish at Nogaro on stage four.
The three kilometre rule, by the way, means a rider who crashes inside this last stretch will still be awarded the same time as the group they were in at the 3km mark.
99km to go: UAE Team Emirates and Astana Qazaqstan taking on feeling musettes as they go through km70. Lotto-Dstny still plugging away at the front, with the gap to Gugliemi now below three minutes at 2.55.
111km to go: The peloton has lowered the gap to Gugliemi to 3.35 now. Yellow jersey Jonas Vingegaard looks relaxed in the bunch, chatting to Jumbo-Visma team-mate Nathan Hooydonck.
Jumbo-Visma DS Grischa Niermann offers his reflections on the battle between his rider Jonas Vingegaard, and Tadej Pogačar:
“I’m not surprised [how good he was on stage six]. But we he hoped to drop him on the Tourmalet and that didn’t work out.
“We had payback for the day before and chapeau to him, he did a great race, but also I think we put on a great show and also Jonas [Vingegaard] was very, very good. But Tadej was on a much better level than the day before.
“But I think it will be a big fight between these two guys, and once again they showed they were on another level to the rest.”
132km to go: Lotto-Dstny continues to ride on the front, with Gugliemi’s gap dropping to 4.12 now.
The Jumbo-Visma riders all know their individual sweat losses, explains team head of nutrition Martijn Redegeld. On today’s hot outing they’re going to be particularly focused on taking on fluids, plus cooling with ice and ice lollies, apparently. Calippo, anyone?*
*Other brands are available.
135km to go: The gap is back down to 4.53 now and continues to fall. Lotto-Dstny’s riding is clearly working at the front of the bunch.
145 to go: Looks like Lotto-Dstny has decided Gugliemi has enough rope at 7.06 and has come to the front to start controlling the gap.
It has sprinter Caleb Ewan, who will be hoping to win today for the first time since 2020 in Poitiers on stage 11.
David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ’s GC hope) is really looking forward to the Puy de Dôme on Sunday, he says.
“We could see some really big gaps.”
Anything can happen when riders are tired, he points out.
The Frenchman currently lies seventh at 4.03.
150km to go: 6.23 now for Gugliemi. It’s going out by a second per second right now.
So who is Gugliemi? He’s 26, turned pro with Groupama-FDJ in 2020 after riding for a year with its development squad.
A win today would be by far the biggest ride of his career as he is, in fact, still waiting for a first pro victory. Of course, the sprinters and their teams are likely to veto any such hopes.
Some of his best results so far include eighth on GC in the Baby Giro in 2019, and seventh on a stage of the Vuelta a España last year.
152km to go: Simon Gugliemi’s gap is growing inexorably – it’s now out to 5.30.
Bora-Hansgrohe directeur Enrico Gasparotto explains the team strategy with Jai Hindley, having already won – and lost – the yellow jersey.
“We set a realistic goal that could be the final podium in Paris. We have to be honest as Jonas [Vingegaard] and Tadej [Pogačar] are looking really strong and superior.
“The fact that we are only 1.34 from the yellow jersey we take as an advantage – I think everything is going quite well for us. The goal is to stay there.
“[Tadej and Jonas] proved that they are superior but in cycling you never know what is going to happen in the two weeks that are still ahead of us.”
157km to go: Matthias Skjelmose and Alex Kirsch of Lidl-Trek showing off their national champions’ jerseys (Denmark and Luxembourg respectively) at the front of the bunch. Now where’s Quinn Simmons?
159km to go: Mathieu Van Der Poel and Tadej Pogačar having a friendly chat just off the back of the bunch. Planning world cycling domination, perhaps?
162km to go: One of the breakaways who had thrown in the towel – Mathieu Burgaudeau of TotalEnergies – explains that, apparently, his DS wasn’t happy with the composition of the break and sent him back to the bunch.
Meanwhile Gugliemi has quickly built a 2.21 gap over a languid bunch.
165km to go: Arkéa’s Simon Gugliemi has been left on his own out front now as his fellow breakaways head back to the bunch. But Frenchman Gugliemi has put his head down. Looks fairly committed. This could be a long time trial for him.
168km to go: Three riders out front, looking rather reluctant. No one behind looking at all keen to join them.
169.9km to go: And the stage is go! Riders attacking immediately.
Aurélien Paret-Peintre (AG2R-Citroën) perfectly demonstrates the warmth of the day – around 30deg C – with an ice pack on the back of his neck.
Today’s stage heads roughly north from Mont-de-Marsan, skirting the Bassin Aquitain on its way up to Bordeaux, all in the south-west of the country.
169.9km to go: And the riders set out from Mont-de-Marsan on the départ fictif. The crowds are out, the weather looks amazing – the scene is set.
The KoM of today’s single categorised climb, the Côte de Beguey, is Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma), who will be racing up it again today.
The Frenchman secured his KoM spot in 2021, again in the Tour de France, when the race went over it on stage 19.
The climb’s stats are 1.16km at 4.45%, which Laporte managed in an impressive 2.04.
Mark Cavendish winning stage 18 of the 2010 Tour de France from Salies-de-Béarn to Bordeaux, ahead of Julian Dean and Alessandro Petacchi.
With 57 appearances as a stage finish and 33 as a stage start town, Bordeaux is one of the most visited cities on the race.
That said, it hasn’t featured on the Tour de France since 2010 when – guess who? – Mark Cavendish won the sprint finish there when he rode for Team HTC-Columbia.
With another sprint finish on the cards, that fact surely won’t be lost on the Manxman, who is hoping to register a record 35th stage victory in what will be his final Tour de France.
Away from the Tour de France Israel-Premier Tech has announced that veteran classics rider Sep Vanmercke has retired with immediate effect due to heart issues.
The Belgian, who won Omloop het Nieuwsblad in his career and was second at Paris-Roubaix, noticed an abnormally high heart rate on a ride recently.
The team added: “Vanmarcke underwent testing including a cardiac MRI which confirmed the presence of scar tissue. The high risk of further cardiac complications posed by the scar tissue means that Vanmarcke will no longer be able to continue racing as a professional cyclist.”
Vanmarcke said: “When I pinned a number for the first time back in 2003, I never dared to dream about having a professional career. I ended up living that dream for 14 years, with highs and lows.”
He said he “wasn’t the super talent” but that “dedication and hard work” had kept him at the top of the sport.
He continued: “It is very sad and painful to announce the end of my career in this way. At the same time, I am grateful that the problems with my heart were discovered in time. I’m going to take the time now to be with my family, to accept the situation and think about what I want to do in the future. My whole life has been all about cycling. Cycling will always be my passion.”
There is one category four climb on the parcours today but its not enough to give the sprinters any real trouble coming 40km from the finish.
This should be a fairly straight-forward affair for their teams, though some have been depleted by injuries and retirements.