Trentin Wins Stage 7 of Tour de France
Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) has won Stage 7 of the Tour de France. Trentin took a crash-marred photo finish sprint from Peter Sagan (Cannondale) to win the rolling, 234.5-km run from Epernay to Nancy in 5:18:39. Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol) finished third, and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) remains the maillot jaune.
At eight km, the break of the day formed. Alexandre Pichot (Europcar), Matthew Busche (Trek), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling), Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp-Endura), and Anthony Delaplace (Bretagne-Seche Environnement) sallied off of the front. The sextet led the field by 4:05 at 30 km.
Cannondale took over at the front on behalf of Sagan. The Italian squad narrowed the gap to two minutes, which was where it stayed for a long time. With 80 km left, the bunch trailed the break by one minute. With 40 km to go, all of the break members except for Huzarski and Elmiger sat up. Those two forged a 1:20 lead.
Orica-GreenEdge took up the chase. Omega Pharma-Quick Step took over from the Australian squad and caught Huzarski and Elmiger on the Category 4 Cote de Maron. The pace dropped sprinters such as Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol).
Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) attacked. Orica-GreenEdge captured the French veteran. On the descent, a Movistar rider took out Tejay van Garderen (BMC). The American took a teammate’s bike and several teammates attempted to pace him back to the peloton, but van Garderen would lose 1:03 by day’s end.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Tinkoff-Saxo Bank set a furious pace. On the day’s last climb, the Category 4 Cote de Boufflers, Cyril Gautier (Europcar) took a dig. He was reeled in, and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Sagan countered. Orica-GreenEdge, Garmin-Sharp, and Omega Pharma-Quick Step chased and caught Sagan with two km left.
The finish was technical. On one of the last turns before the finish line, a crash split the field. Only about 20 riders contested the sprint. Omega Pharma-Quick Step led the lead group. In the final km, two crashes occurred. The first took down Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol), and the second occurred with 200 m remaining and wiped out Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp). Trentin charged into the lead and just held off Sagan.
Trentin’s stage win is a boost to the morale of Omega Pharma-Quick Step, which lost Mark Cavendish in a Stage 1 crash. The remaining riders vowed to fight hard to win stages, but Trentin was not sure that he had won. "The whole team worked since the first stage for Cav,” he said. “When Cav crashed, we said to each other that we have to keep fighting. We have to work and keep an eye out for the victory. We have to finalize every day with the maximum effort possible. We did it exactly like this. We were always on the front on the flat stages, the hilly stages, even on the cobbles. We didn't have a lot of good luck, but today all that hard work paid off. As for the finish, it was really close, but I heard first on the radio that I won. Honestly I had no idea I got the victory as I thought Peter Sagan just barely beat me on the line. But, I got the win and I am super happy. Cycling is beautiful because anything can happen, and it was so close I couldn't celebrate until I knew for sure.”
In the overall, Nibali leads teammate Jakob Fuglsang by 0:02 and Sagan by 0:44. Stage 8 will have a hilly finish, with the riders taking on two late Category 2 ascents and a Category 3 climb to the finish. The 161-km ride from Tomblaine to Gerardmer la Mauselaine will see fireworks from the GC contenders. Who will win the stage? Thomas Voeckler (Europcar)? Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol)? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!