Several contenders, including Australian hope Richie Porte, lost time in the crosswinds at the end of a tumultuous Stage 7 of the Tour de France.
By
SBS Cycling Central

5 Sep 2020 - 4:44 AM  UPDATED 5 Sep 2020 - 6:58 AM

It had been a brutal stage from the start, with BORA-hansgrohe driving the pace nearly from the very start of the race. That eliminated approximately half of the peloton from the main bunch, with the pace kept high throughout the race. 

The speed ramped up further with 35 kilometres left to go as Michal Kwiatkowski (INEOS Grenadiers) did a strong turn at the front of the race that strung the peloton out in a line before splitting the already reduced main bunch. 

Two groups formed behind as the riders struggled to get back on terms with the front group, which was being led by a combination of INEOS Grenadiers, Groupama-FDJ and Jumbo-Visma. 

The two groups joined together and continued to mount a chase, but couldn't replicate the cohesion of the peloton and steadily lost time to the front of the race. Mikel Landa (Bahrain McLaren), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segfredo), Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott), Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Richie Porte were all caught up initially in the carnage, and struggled on to try and return to the front of the race.

Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) was the man who led them across when they eventually reached the finish line a minute and 21 seconds behind stage-winner Wout Van Aert. 

Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) 3rd to 16th, 1 min 28 seconds behind yellow jersey.

"We knew in the final section that it would be hard so we were trying to move to the front but someone crashed in front of us and I ended up behind the group when it split."

"I tried to close the gap but the speed was really up. The team gave everything to try and bring me back and did their best to minimise the loss. It's just a minute or so, It's not ideal but I'm not worried. We will try another day."

Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) 15th to 20th, a minute and 34 seconds behind.

"Of course you don't want that to happen but at least now we're more into our terrain the next couple of days so we just have to get on with it and try and make amends a little bit tomorrow. 

"Now we're not so close on GC hopefully we'll have a little more breathing space on the next stages."

The Tour de France continues with Stage 8 as the race ventures into the Pyrenees, cresting the hard climbs of the Port de Bales and the Col de Peyresourde. Watch LIVE on SBS and SBS On Demand from 9:30pm AEST.