Tour de France: Porte expects Movistar and Sky to set the tempo
BMC teammate van Garderen expecting fireworks
Other than Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) losing time and Adam Yates unnecessarily losing rather a lot of skin, the majority of the GC contenders in this year's Tour de France came through stage 7 relatively unscathed.
Richie Porte and Tejay van Garderen (BMC) safely finished in the group containing their principle rivals, with the Australian expecting far sterner tests in the weekend stages that traverse through the Pyrenees.
"Movistar and Team Sky will make it hard but we don't really know what's going to happen," Porte said at the end of stage 7.
The pace throughout Friday's stage varied dramatically. During the opening phase the riders were left breathless until a large break – containing race leader Greg Van Avermaet – went clear. The mood relaxed as much as it could for a Tour stage, and the pace up the final ascent of the Col d'Aspin was steady rather than relentless – although it was too much for Pinot, who saw his podium aspirations slip away as the peloton distanced him for around three minutes.
"It's not easy if a guy like Pinot is dropped," van Garderen said.
"With the next two days coming up people are nervous with what's to come. We're going to see some fireworks."
Porte found the pace on the Col d'Aspin comfortable and with Van Avermaet up the road the rest of the BMC squad had an excuse to sit back while others controlled the bunch.
"It was a bit strange with Greg jumping in the breakaway. The pace wasn't that high. Tony Martin was riding for a part of it and it never really got too crazy. I felt good and it's another day down. It could have been quite tricky but it all went well. There's two more hard days to come and it was such a steady pace that I don't think too much damage was going to be done."
Unlike van Garderen, Porte still has time to make up after his first week puncture saw him concede 1:45.
"The morale is good though and I'm climbing with the best. The time loss still hurts but I'll take it day-by-day."
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Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
By Josh Croxton