Mitchelton-SCOTT play it safe as the sprinters take stage sevenFri 12 Jul 2019
Mitchelton-SCOTT ticked off another day at the Tour de France as the sprinters battled for the victory on stage seven.
Team leader Adam Yates rolled home in the bunch behind the fight for the win alongside his teammates, with the squad leaving it the fast men at the finish.
There was an initial reluctance to attack as the peloton rolled out of the neutral zone for the longest stage of the race, with the day always looking set for a bunch sprint finale. In the end just two riders braved the headwind and formed the breakaway, leaving a happy bunch behind.
With the duo down the road and a tough day in the legs from the previous stage, the peloton rolled along at a relaxed pace, way down on the slowest estimated time schedule. The leading pair enjoyed a maximum advantage of 4’40”, but it always looked a doomed move with just two riders clear.
The gap stayed above three minutes for the majority of the stage with the three categorised climbs proving no problem for both the breakaway and the peloton. Eventually the gap began to fall as the race passed through 50-kilometres to go and fell below two-minutes with the sprint teams starting to take more control of the pace making.
The first real action on the day occurred as the break came into sight with several riders caught out as the pace was increased and the wind began to below. Simon Yates and Jack Haig were amongst the small group distanced, but they were soon back in the peloton with 25-kilometres to go.
Just when it looked like the two-man break was about to be swept up by the charging bunch, the pair nudged their advantage back out again, with the sprint teams not wanting to make the catch too early on the run into Chalon-sur-Saône.
It was eventually all back together with 12-kilometres remaining with a nervous bunch starting to organise themselves for the sprint. Mitchelton-SCOTT were focussing on making it to the three-kilometre to go banner and as the race passed under it, the sprint teams took over with Dylan Groenewegen (Team Jumbo-Visma) taking the win.
“It was a straightforward day for us really, we just had to look after Adam and yeah, it was just simple really. It was pretty boring until the final, the final was quite hectic, but we had a lot of guys around Adam.”
“It was a block head wind all day so there wasn’t going to be too many surprises even with the increase in pace, no was really interested in splitting it up, it wasn’t worth anyone’s while.”
Matt White (Sports Director):
“Yeah it was a long day in the office just because of the wind conditions and the fact that we were only chasing two riders.”
“So, a long day, and in the end it was actually quite a warm day. We’ve had two very solid days and the third one wasn’t easy either.”
“These stages are not the most difficult, but they’re just going wear people down and people are underestimating tomorrow, it’s nearly 4000-metres of climbing on a medium mountain stage, so it’s got breakaway written all over it.”
Tour de France 2019 Stage 7 Results:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Team Jumbo-Visma) 6:02:44
2. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) ST
3. Peter Sagan (BORA – hansgrohe) ST
43. Michael Hepburn (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
General Classification After Stage 7:
1. Giulio Ciccone (Trek - Segafredo) 29:17:39
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck–Quick-Step) +0:06
3. Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Merida) +0:32
14. Adam Yates(Mitchelton-SCOTT) +1:24
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.