The Grand Colombier provided the stiffest test yet for the GC rider at this year’s Tour de France with its relentless gradient proving to be the graveyard for yellow jersey challenges of Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) and Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) who were both cut adrift barely 4km into the 17km climb.
Quintana was the first to lose ground but he was quickly joined by Bernal who appeared to be suffering on both of the previous two climbs and, as Primož Roglič’s Jumbo-Visma set a punishing pace, seconds soon extended to minutes with Quintana losing 3:50 on stage winner Tadej Pogačar, and Bernal shipping an astonishing 7:20 despite being nursed home by his teammates.
The losses meant that Bernal - the defending champion – dropped from third overall to 13th, his overall deficit at 8:25. Quintana on the other hand managed to limit his losses but still dropped from fourth to ninth at 5:08.
The happiest rider at the finish was Pogačar, who not only claimed his second stage of the race, but also chipped four seconds of Roglič’s GC time, with the Jumbo-Visma rider now just 40 seconds ahead. His late attack with 500m to easily covered by Porte, Pogačar and Lopez, with only the sprint for the line causing any gaps.
Richie Porte continued to impress with third on the stage and the Australian is now up 6th on GC, 2:13 off the lead. Miguel Angel Lopez took fourth on the stage and only conceded a handful of seconds but he also put a vital seven seconds into a number of his top-10 rivals, including Enric Mas, Mikel Landa and Adam Yates.
Rigoberto Urán was hanging on towards the summit and lost three more seconds on the line to the Landa group but thanks to his consistency and the fact that he didn’t lose time on the crosswinds on stage 7 he is now up to third overall, 1:34 down on Roglič.
Adam Yates’ attack with 7km to go was reeled in by Tom Dumoulin but the Mitchelton rider is well on course for his second top-ten in the Tour. He lost 15 seconds at the line, finishing in eighth place and moving up two places to 5th overall.
With Quintana Bernal dropping out of contention, Tom Dumoulin crept up to tenth overall, while Guillaume Martin held onto 11th place despite conceding 3:25. The Frenchman had a mechanical at the base of the final climb and chased for several kilometres. He managed to make contact with the yellow-jersey group but was understandably dropped soon after.
Overshadowed by Bernal’s performance was the fact that Richard Carapaz also lost time. The 2019 Giro winner crashed early on in the stage and was unable to handle the pace, eventually slipping from 13th to 16th.
Further down, and to emphasize their superiority, Jumbo Visma moved both Wout Van Aert and Sep Kuss into the top-twenty with the Dutch team moving up to second in the teams’ classification.
Movistar lead those standings once more after another consistent day and Sergio Higuita crashing out.
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.