Wednesday, 16 October, 2019

Tour de France 2019, stage seven

Sagan sprints to stage-five win at Tour de France Broken ribs force Patrick Bevin out of Tour de France
Shannon Reynolds | 12 July, 2019, 18:27

The 175.5km stage from Saint-Die-des-Vosges came down to a sprint finish as the quickmen kept pace with the peloton over the late climb of Cinq Chateaux.

Sagan flexed his muscles as he crossed the line in a repeat of his celebration from his first Tour win, in 2012.

Mitchelton-Scott's Trentin launched his sprint first but Sagan had the power to come around.

"It's just unbelievable", said the Italian after taking the overall lead from Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe by just six seconds.

The welshman delivered a major statement of intent in the defence of his Tour de France crown as he pulled clear of young team-mate Egan Bernal on the final brutal slopes of La Planche des Belles Filles.

Dan Martin and Nicholas Roche both finished in the leading group.

Defending champion Geraint Thomas was the strongest of the overall contenders on the 160-km route from Mulhouse to La Planche des Belles Filles.

"Winning a stage at the Giro d'Italia as a neo-pro (2016) put him on our radar and we followed him closely ever since", said Trek-Segafredo's general manager, Luca Guercilena.

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"Now it feels odd to be here with the yellow jersey myself", added Ciccone, who hails from the Abbruzzo region.

Thomas already lost five seconds to Colombian Bernal when he found himself at the wrong end of a split in the third stage on Monday.

"When Julian Alaphilippe went, pretty early with 800m to go or something like that, I just had the confidence to let him go, ride my own tempo, then really try to drive it all the way to the line from about 350m out". The stage ended up as a battle not only for the stage and the overall lead but for the psychological control of the race.

"I was starting to blow though - it was solid - but it was pretty decent".

Watch every minute from the 2019 Tour de France live - anytime and anywhere - on Eurosport and the Eurosport Player.

"In other teams, guys like Yatesy (Adam Yates) and Richie (Porte), (Nairo) Quintana, those type of guys I think it suits but when you have got form, you have got good form and it will be interesting to see where everyone is".

Today's seventh stage, the longest of the Tour at 230km, returns to flatter terrain as the peloton races from Belfort to Chalon-sur-Saone.

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