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Tour de France 2014: Stage 7

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Hello and welcome to live coverage from stage 7 of the Tour de France.

Today we're in Épernay for a 234.5km stage to Nancy. It's the second longest stage of the race with two fourth category climbs coming near to the finish. It's a day for a break but there's also every chance that the bunch and especially Cannondale, will look to set Peter Sagan up for the win. A lot will depend on how he's feeling after yesterday's fall.

Peter Sagan is in Green today too, with a commanding lead in the points competition. He's on the start line now as the peloton gather for the start of stage 7. You can join us for complete coverage, while you can check out our preview video of the stage, right here too.

And here's how the GC stands coming into today's stage.

 

1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 24:38:25
2 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:00:02
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale 0:00:44
4 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:00:50
5 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek Factory Racing 0:01:17
6 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol 0:01:45
7 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Belisol
8 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:01:54
9 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - Sharp 0:02:05
10 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:11

The peloton have just rolled out from the start. 234.5km ahead of them.

 

Away from the race Andy Schleck has given his first interview since knee surgery. Cyclingnews spoke to him from his hospital bed about the injury, and his thoughts for the future. Here's the story and of course everyone wishes Schleck a speedy recovery.

In the race, the attacks once again start when the flag is dropped. There are a few skirmishes before a break settles with Pichot, Delaplace, Edet, Huzarski, Elmiger & Busche forming after 14km of racing.

The break has pushed on and now have 3'20 on the bunch. It will be interesting to see who takes up the chase and when. Kittel struggled yesterday and Giant may chose to back Degenkolb for the stage. Griepel might also fancy his chances but Cannondale are still looking for their first stage. Sagan has a commanding lead in the points competition but with the final climb inside the last 10km, it's a stage that suits The Hulk/Wolverine/ - delete as applicable.

 And just like that the gap is over four minutes, and the peloton has reacted. Cannondale moves to the front of the pack, as Peter Sagan has his eye firmly on a win today.

 And just like that the gap is over four minutes, and the peloton has reacted. Cannondale moves to the front of the pack, as Peter Sagan has his eye firmly on a win today.

Sorry about the double posting.

 

199km remaining from 234km

Cannondale's work is helping: the gap has dropped 10 seconds, to 4:05.

 

BMC's Marcus Burghardt was "50-50" to start today, but we hear that all riders took to the start today. So we assume he is there, which is good news for Tejay van Garderen.

 

 

Alejandro Valverde of Movistar needs help from the team car for a mechanical problem.

And with some 200 km still to come, the gap is at 3:50.

 

Stef Clement of Belkin has crashed and has to abandon. Hope he is ok!

 

Jesus Hernandez of Tinkoff-Saxo had to abandon yesterday with a head injury. This was a real blow to Alberto Contador, who was looking for his support in the upcoming mountains.

 

One team looking to bounce back today will be FDJ. The French outfit had a shocker yesterday with when Thibaut Pinot was caught out in the wind and conceded 59 seconds to his GC rivals while Arnaud Démare crashed for the second day in a row and was unable to contest the sprint for the stage win.

180km remaining from 234km

54km into the race and it's Cannondale on the front of the peloton. They're already looking to keep the break in check and have them at 2:50. If they can keep the move in check then other teams will almost certainly help with the pace setting.

Alberto Contador is sitting near the front of the peloton and is keeping out of trouble - just as he should. The Spaniard in this video for InCycle points the the Pyrenees as to where the Tour de France will be won.

 

You can of course catch up with all our Tour de France videos, with this playlist. And you can subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel here.

Race radio and Belkin have both confirmed that Clement has been taken to hospital. We'l bring you more news as soon as we have it.

RT @TeamBelkin: #TDF - @Stefclement is on his way to a hospital for a medical check.

@julienpretotRTR Fri, 11th Jul 2014 12:06:38

Jesus Hernandez is staying with team for two days as they're not confident he can take the plane now. He is being monitored by team doc #tdf

@julienpretotRTR Fri, 11th Jul 2014 12:09:26

176km remaining from 234km

58km into the race and break's lead is at 2:30.

There's a slight tailwind for the race as it heads east and we tick towards two hours of racing.

Cannondale continue to set the pace at the head of the peloton, with the gap at a stable 2:25. The leaders are still working but their chances rest on the actions of Sagan's team at this point.

Michal Kwiatkowski at the start, being photo bombed by my own colleague. #tdf http://t.co/Yw9srbkY5V

@SadhbhOS Fri, 11th Jul 2014 12:41:31

Despite not winning a stage in the race yet, Peter Sagan is running away with the green jersey:

 

1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale 217 pts
2 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar 137
3 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 135
4 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha 117
5 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol 91
6 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 87
7 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 55
8 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 53
9 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 48
10 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr 44

149km remaining from 234km

85km covered by the break though, their lead still held around the 2:30 mark.

The final climb peaks out with 5km to go and it's a twisting, technical descent. Sagan, who we've mentioned a lot this morning, is perfeclty suited to the finale. There's a good chance of him attacking on the run  it.

The final climb is only 1.3km in length with an average gradient of 7.9 per cent. There are a lot of tired legs out there but the likes of Orica, Europcar perhaps, and Garmin (Slagter) may well try something before we head into the second weekend of the race.

The lead now has now pushed out to three minutes with Astana and race leader Nibali just behind the Cannondale train. Sagan's men are doing a lot of work, and doing it early, especially for such a long stage. Will they have anything left for the last two climbs?

130km remaining from 234km

The gap is down to 2:45 as Nibali drifts towards the front of the peloton with a gaggle of Astana teammates around him. The race leader has his rain jacket on as the clouds gather overhead.

Sagan at least looks relaxed as he gives a quick nod to the television cameras. He has his entire team on the front of the peloton at the moment. It begs the question as to how he and Contador would share a team, if the rumours are true and they'll both ride for Tinkoff Saxo next year.

The peloton are racing towards the feedzone at Charny Sur Meuse.

Cannondale are still on the front and they have the break at 1'32. They had a max of 4:15 but Sagan's men have been told to work, work, work.

Cannondale allow the gap to drift out to 2:16. They're certainly putting the tired sprinters, like Kittel and the injured Demare and Degenkolb under pressure.

Just had my 1st physio session on my shoulder. Actually feels so nice to move it & it's working well. @theshoulderdoc did a superb job!

@MarkCavendish Fri, 11th Jul 2014 13:48:01

@dnlbenson I hope Slagter does try something today he's got my e/w money today!

@StoddieUS Fri, 11th Jul 2014 13:22:34

And we're seeing a few splits at the back of the field. Nothing major but the wind has picked up and a few riders have lost contact.

99km remaining from 234km

We're into the final 99km of racing with Pichot taking a long turn on the front of the break. The gap though is down to just 1'17.

Astana and Tinkoff both move up to the front because on these wide exposed roads they're concerned about the cross-winds.

@dnlbenson Nibali to take more seconds today? If Sagan attacks over the last summit, the pair of them can descend lethally together. #TDF

@andyjwhit Fri, 11th Jul 2014 13:30:20

Movistar with Alejandro Valverde are close to the front as well. The pace continues to rise with 90km still to go. Nibali is calling for more teammates on the front as well as he looks to defend his position.

Omega and then Sky are the next teams to pull through to the front but the majority of the work is being done by Cannondale with the bunch 4.5km from the intermediate sprint.

Into the final 85km of racing and reminder that you can catch up with all our Tour de France videos, right here.

Elmiger rolls over the line first at the intermediate sprint as Cannondale lead out Sagan  but it's Coquard who takes 7th. It will be interesting to see if the bunch keep the pace on or knock it off, with the break at 50 seconds.

The six leaders are still concentrating on the task at hand as we see BMC throw me forward. Tejay van Garderen tucks in stays out of the wind, just Nibali and Contador ride near each other. Dry conditons but there's plenty of cloud around as Rodriguez calls for his team car to come up.

74km remaining from 234km

Griepel and Langeveld are both at the back of the bunch and FDJ move up, clearly intent on not making the same mistakes twice in two days.

Race radio confirms that Danny Van Poppel has abandoned the race.

There's friction in the break as Elmiger calls on riders to up their game. The Swiss champion shakes his head and the impetus has been lost and Edet takes his chance and attacks.

63km remaining from 234km

63km to go and Edet is clear but the bunch are at 45 seconds. The break look to have found their second wind though and are bringing back the Cofidis man.

Rolling terrain but the peloton can see the six man break, with the gap at 56 seconds. At the back of the bunch a few riders drop back to see the team cars as Contador is brought to the head of the race.

Danny van Poppel has been struggling since the start of the Tour. In Lille he told Cyclingnews that he didn’t feel well although he failed to describe what actually bothered him. Back then he said he hoped it would improve before the mountains arrived. “Last year I was the youngest Dutchman ever in the Tour. Now I’m the youngest rider of the peloton. The attention was cool but I hope to make an impression on the sportive side as well,” Van Poppel said. It turned out the wrong way for the 20 year-old Dutchman.

Greg Van Avermaet:

“I think I’m the favourite for the win today. I was a bit unlucky on the cobbles but I still feel good and today is another chance. I hope to tackle that last climb as good as I can. My favourite? Sagan. Kwiatkowski, Nibali maybe. I hope Sagan his team will control the race so I don’t have to try and get in a breakaway because it’s not going to be a bunch sprint. I checked out the final climb on Google Earth last night. It took a while but I figured it was better than checking out Twitter or Instagram all the time. I should receive some space because I intentionally lost ground in the GC.”

 

Peter Sagan “I’m still alive without problems on my legs and arms. This is a stage for me? Every stage is for me, no? We will see. There’s also other riders, not just me. I’m very happy I have a lot of fans here. I want to show them something.”

49km remaining from 234km

We're into the final 49km of racing, the peloton still at the 42 second mark. Cannondale have been on the front of the bunch for almost the entire stage. Next to them are the Astana, BMC, Tinkoff and Movistar trains.

Over 230km of racing, two sharp climbs near the finish before a flat run-in. It's almost the sort of profile that saw Simon Gerrans win Milan San Remo a few years ago. The Australian crashed on stage one but if he's recovered he could be in with a chance.

Huzarski has attacked with Elmiger but the rest of the break is about to caught with 40km to go.

Into the final 35km and it's still Cannodale on the front of the bunch. The two leaders still have a gap and it's gone out to 1'17.

And Sagan still has almost his entire team on the front. They've been immense so far but can he repay them with a win? The GC riders may try and unsettle Nibali on the two climbs, they're only short but if the likes of Contador sense any weakness they will attack.

Into the final 30km and the gap to the leading pair is at just 38 seconds. It's been such a long day in the saddle but they're holding off the entire bunch.

The race is on a short clilmb, there's a swift descent and then the first of two late climbs.

Sky's remaining seven riders are at the front of the race , taking control along with Cannondale. Porte looks in good shape as he rides at the back of the black and blue train.

The bunch line out as we head towards the first climb. It's 3.2km in length with a gradient of five per cent.

13 seconds for the leading pair and already riders are being dropped from the bunch.

Navarro, 9th last year, has lost contact. He's had a really tough opening week at the Tour de France.

Tough left hand corner and now we're onto the first climb. Degenkolb has been dropped.

Nibali has lost one rider and Porte too because Eisel has been dropped early.

Kittel is suffering too as his team huddle around him.

And with 19km to go the leaders have been caught as Orica set the pace at the front of the bunch. Riblon has also been dropped.

Renshaw has lost contact as we see Voeckler attack.

Europcar's talisman has a gap but it's only around 50m as Gerrans and his gang look to chase. Greipel the next rider to lose contact with the bunch as we Sagan sit in.

Demare has just been dropped too. It's all working for Sagan so far.

Voeckler, out of the saddle, has been caught by Orica GreenEdge who continue with Yates on the front.

Voeckler, out of the saddle, has been caught by Orica GreenEdge who continue with Yates on the front.

Meanwhile Contador and Nibali watch each other as Sagan sits behind two of his teammates.

There's a huge fall in the bunch.

Right near the front and van Garderen is down.

He has one teammate to help and he's on another rider's bike. It's Velits' but he can't wait, he has to chase.

Up ahead an on the descent Tinkoff are racing on the front. Van Garderen is in big trouble here with 14km to go.

There are many 50-60 riders in the front group after that fall. He has two men with him but he'll need more help.

Tinkoff are setting the pace now as we head towards the final climb of the day.

13km remaining from 234km

Contador is third in line as more BMC riders start to pace van Garderen.

Van Garderen has lost 50 seconds already.

Atapuma we hear has quit the race after that falll.

Van Garderen is feeling the pain here as he sees his rivals ride away from him. Now Nibali and Astana move up, Sagan has just one teammate left as we head towards the final climb.

And Nibali is right on the front on the descent. There's a real fight for position with around 10km to go.

10km remaining from 234km

Thomas is on the front now for Porte as we take another tight corner. Nibali and Contador well placed with van Garderen now at 55 seconds.

Van Garderen is closing in the team cars but he still has so much work to do.

And the gap goes up to 57 seconds.

And Cancellara and Voigt move up with Schleck.

Just 8km to and Voigt is on the front and taking a huge turn. Martin is leading his team leader as we see van Garderen race through the team cars.

The gap comes down, it's not at 49 seconds for van Garderen.

BMC are trying to slow the main field down with the riders they still have in the front group. That will help their leader.

Omega are taking it up though with Cannondale as we start the final climb.

All the GC favourites are close to the front with van Garderen at 48 seconds.

Gautier has attacked from the bunch.

He has a gap but that's Roche who attacks and Contador is looking good. Gautier is caught.

Roche is turning the screw with Contador and Nibali close by.

Sagan is still there as a BMC rider look to attack. I think that's Oss.

It's all back together though at the front.

And Talansky has attacked but Sagan is clear with a BMC rider in his wheel.

Sagan is clear and has a gap with Van Avermaet.

This leading pair have to work together as they head into the final 4km but it's all Sagan on the front at the moment.

They're on the run-in as Van Avermaet takes a turn on the front with 3km to go.

GreenEdge are chasing but the gap is growing.

Sagan is the fastest of the two and Sagan takes a corner so fast that he creates a gap that Van Avermaet has to close.

1.8km to go and it looks like the bunch are catching them now.

There are two tough corners left with 1.1km to go.

And they're caught.

There's a crash at the back.

There's only 20 riders left.

Omega are leading this one out.

Can Trentin do it.

And there's another crash

But here comes Sagan. He's coming back and he's taking on Trentin for the line. It's going to be so close.

We'll need a photo finish for that one because Trentin and Sagan were so close. It looked like Talansky may have fallen in that last crash.

There were two major crashes in the final 800m. The first involving a BMC rider, the second, just before the line with a Garmin rider falling.

And confirmation that Trentin takes it ahead of Sagan with Gallopin in third.

So Trentin gets it. Just. His second Tour de France stage win in two years.

Trentin had a perfect lead out in the end though and that made the difference. Sagan had his team do so much work, then attacked on the last climb.

1 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 5:18:39
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale 0:00:00
3 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Belisol 0:00:00
4 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano 0:00:00
5 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica Greenedge 0:00:00
6 Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:00:00
7 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar 0:00:00
8 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling 0:00:00
9 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:00:00
10 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:00

No time checks yet for van Garderen but it looks like he lost time. Talansky didn't lose time but he did come down in that last crash before the line. A bad day for the two US GC riders.

General classification after stage 7
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 29:57:04
2 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:00:02
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale 0:00:44
4 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:00:50
5 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Belisol 0:01:45
6 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:01:54
7 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - Sharp 0:02:05
8 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:11
9 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:02:11
10 Rui Alberto Costa (Por) Lampre - Merida 0:02:11

So van Garderen has certainly lost time, we just don't know how much yet.

Vaughters: "Gerrans moved over on him (Talansky). First thing he said to me is I want an apology from Gerrans. That means he's doing fine."

@julienpretotRTR Fri, 11th Jul 2014 16:32:44

RT @AleTegner: . @matteotrentin on the podium #tdf #opqs congrats giovane! https://t.co/zaiDMGnUWu

@opqscyclingteam Fri, 11th Jul 2014 16:33:05

Nibali:

Nibali: "There's no such thing as an easy stage, it was very fast speeds and a few falls so it was stressful at the end of the stage. I'm feeling good for tomorrow but the important things was to get through this stage without any accidents."

 

Trentin: "It was only on the photo finish that I saw that I won by a centimeter and a half. It was a stressful run-in to the line. I couldn't see who was setting the pace on the climbs, I just hung on and got into position at the end to come out on top. I used a lot of energy for this victory. It is an important victory for me."

Thanks for joining us today. You can find our report, results and photos from the stage, right here.

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