Before the riders complete the first week and will enjoy the first rest day on Monday, the pyrenees’-triple started today.
The 7th stage was the easiest of the weekend, still with 2 KOM, the first of category 4 and the second a category 1 climb at the Col d’Aspin.
The plan for BORA – ARGON 18 was again to get into the break of the day, while Emanuel Buchmann and Patrick Konrad should concentrate on the famous last climb of the day and try to stay with the favourites. At the beginning of the stage, 12 riders with Cesare Benedetti from BORA – ARGON 18 could escape from the peloton. But with also also Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan in the group, Etixx - Quickstep and Lotto-Soudal pulled hard in the bunch to don’t let them go. After a hard fight of 40 kilometres, the group was caught again and everything was set to start again. In the counter attack, 29 riders, this time with Paul Voss, managed to go clear. The gap opened pretty fast to more than 4 minutes, before Sky and Movistar took over control in the bunch. With Vincenzo Nibali and the yellow jersey in the front group, they did not want to take any risk regarding the GC. Before the last climb, Cummings, Breschel, Navarro and Duchesne pulled away from the other breakaway riders.
He was caught from the group of favourites just 500m before the KOM, in this group Emanuel Buchmann was fighting hard to stay in touch and Patrick Konrad was about 1 minute behind. Emu showed is climbing talent today and went just a few seconds behind the favourites over the Aspin. In the downhill he closed the gap and finished with the big names like Froome, Valverde, Quintana, Kreuziger and Mollema. One minute behind this group Patrick Konrad and Paul Voss crossed the line.
Stephen Cummings from the team Dimension Data defended his gap on the climb to the Col d'Aspin and won today’s stage with a confident performance.
“The last 500 meters to the top of the Col d’Aspin I had to drift a little, but after the downhill I closed on them again. At the end of the day I had much better legs than before yesterday. I’m definitely a bit more optimistic than during the past few days and I hope tomorrow my legs are even better.” – Emanuel Buchmann
“In the end it was better than I thought, but 1,5k before the top of the last climb I was dropped from the group and had to go alone in the downhill. I think the stage today I like more than the two upcoming stages with several highly categorized climbs. It’s great fun here at Le Tour de France and my mind is still very fresh.” – Patrick Konrad