Remarkable Ride Sees Van Avermaet Extend Yellow Jersey Lead8. July 2016, Lac de Payolle (FRA) — Road Team
Greg Van Avermaet put in an incredible ride on stage 7 to finish in fifth place, not only keeping his leader’s yellow jersey but increasing his lead in the General Classification.
The first stage in the Pyrenees saw a fast and furious start with the peloton reeling in the first breakaway after 43 kilometers of racing. That made way for a solid breakaway of 29 riders to form, including Van Avermaet, building a gap of over five minutes as they approached the two categorized climbs of the day.
Steve Cummings attacked solo from the split breakaway with 26 kilometers to go. Van Avermaet was part of a 4-rider chase group, holding on as long as possible on the aCol d’Aspin to cross the line in fifth place behind solo winner Cummings.
Behind Van Avermaet, the General Classification group began to attack until the one kilometer arch fell on the course, blocking the group and disrupting the race. The General Classification battle was neutralized and all riders were awarded their time at the three kilometers to go mark.
Van Avermaet now commands a 5’50” lead over Adam Yates (ORICA-BikeExchange) heading into his third day in the yellow jersey, which sees a big day in the mountains on stage 8.
Quotes of the Day
Greg Van Avermaet:
“I knew it would be hard to keep the jersey today. I made a smart move I think to go in the break. It was a hard start and everybody wanted to go. We tried to control but at one point we were riding and they kept on jumping behind us and then I said maybe it’s better that I save my teammates again and I just go by myself. It kept the pressure off the team, they didn’t have to work that hard today and I keep yellow. It was a great day, it’s not often you see yellow in the breakaway It wasn’t easy but I gained some time. I look forward to tomorrow as it’s probably my last day in yellow. I will enjoy it, it’s a mountain stage so we will see how it goes.”
“With yellow on the shoulders you always do a little bit more. I was really motivated to keep the jersey. I just wanted to go for it, the shape is really good and I’m happy to have another day.”
“I didn’t come down [when the arch came down on the course], I think Yates might have. It was a strange one. Common sense prevailed and everybody rode on. The Col d’Aspin was good. I had a bit of a gap there over the top. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but you’re never going to stay away in a descent like that with those guys coming back as quickly as they were. The pace on the climb wasn’t that high. I felt good, it’s another day down and it’s one that could have been quite tricky with that last little descent. But it all went well. We’re going to take it as it comes. I’m climbing with the best of the best, the time loss still hurts, but it’s day by day.”
Tejay van Garderen:
“No one really attacked. Col d’Aspin isn’t the hardest climb. We didn’t have any climbs before to really soften the legs up so everyone was pretty fresh. We did have a hard tempo out there, I heard on the radio that Pinot was dropped, so it’s not easy if a guy like him is getting dropped. With the next two days coming up I think people are pretty nervous for those two days, so I think we’ll see some fireworks tomorrow and Sunday.”
“There was a 20-man break out there. That doesn’t happen easily. We were fighting out there for 60 km to get the breakaway. On the climb it was a stiff tempo. There were no big attacks from the GC guys because we’re all a little too fresh, but today softened up the legs for the coming days. It was a dream scenario today with Greg up the road.”
“We’ve probably done way more than we expected to in this first week of racing. It’s a great beginning for us, in what is going to end up still being a real challenge for everybody going forward. We take it one day at a time and so far each day has been good. We’re very happy with the results so far and to go into the second week of racing with Greg Van Avermaet in the Yellow Jersey, it’s a good feeling.”
Tour de France
Stage 7 l’Isle-Jourdain > Lac de Payolle (162.5km)
Top 3: Steve Cummings (Dimension Data), Daryl Impey (ORICA-BikeExchange), Daniel Navarro (Cofidis, Solutions Credits)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 5. Greg Van Avermaet, 13. Richie Porte, 24. Tejay van Garderen
BMC Racing Team Top 3 on GC: 1. Greg Van Avermaet, 12. Tejay van Garderen, 24. Richie Porte
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