Carapaz surges on the Signal d'Uchon as Thomas dropped

Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) launched a spirited attack on the final climb of stage 7 at the Tour de France but still slipped down the GC rankings, while teammate Geraint Thomas was dropped as he endured another tough day.

Carapaz attacked over the top of the Signal d'Urchon with the help of teammate Dylan van Baarle in a bid to make up time on his GC rivals caught in the peloton, including 2020 champion Tadej Pogačar (UAE Emirates), who was left isolated as his teammates attacked in the early chase.

Picking up serious speed coming into the finish, the Ecuadorian's efforts were ultimately in vain as he was caught on the line by riders from Movistar, cancelling out any potential time gained as Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious) raced to the stage victory after a mammoth 249 kilometres.


The attacking ride keeps Carapaz in contention for yellow, as he now sits 12th in the rankings, five minutes and 19 seconds off leader Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) as the race enters the mountains in tomorrow's stage 8.

Directly below him in 13th with a further 10 second gap to van der Poel, teammate Thomas was briefly distanced from the group of contenders as they pedalled their way up the category two climb, the 2018 Tour winner still attempting to recover from a dislocated shoulder sustained in a crash during stage 3.

The Welshman was able to recover and finish in the group with his rivals, but his performance was another underwhelming one in a race many tipped him to win, as he described his struggles throughout the day.

“We hoped that UAE [Team Emirates] would have to ride all day, which they did," Thomas said.

"(Wout) Van Aert was in a great position up there and it's not every day that you see the yellow jersey in the break. It was a tough day and then obviously with the last 80 kilometres with the smaller roads, up and down, it was just racing from behind for position with some tough climbs at the end.

Asked if his injuries sustained in the crash were the reason for his struggles, the 35-year-old revealed he wasn't yet back to full fitness but was optimistic he'd be back to continue to challenge for the team alongside Carapaz.

“It was quite a big crash," he said.

"It's easy to talk myself into it, 'I'm OK, blah blah blah' - it takes a lot out of you, as you can see with (Primoz) Roglič as well. 

"I was suffering and it takes a lot out of me, too. The last two sprint days weren’t easy. I just tried to pace it today. I only lost contact with about 200m. There’s still a long way to go. I don’t want it to sound like I’m just making excuses and that, it was just a heavy crash.

"I didn't want to go full, 100 per cent. It was OK in the end. I'm suffering but hopefully I'll start to feel better soon. Maybe not in the next two days. For sure I'll try to stay there or thereabouts. Obviously Billy (Carapaz) is in a good position and we'll try to use that as best we can." 

Meanwhile, losing time on the day didn't phase the young Pogačar as he confirmed his plans to ramp up the intensity in the mountains as his campaign for back-to-back Tour titles continues.

"Today was a super demanding day," Pogačar said.

"We tried to close really fast but they were pulling like crazy from the beginning and the group just snapped in half, it was a really unlucky moment.

"But we started to pull and work together and the team did a fantastic job.

"I know my team and I know they're strong, so we'll go day-by-day and try and get through. I know a lot of other teams suffered today so we're not the only one."

The Tour de France continues with the first mountain stage of the race with the Col de la Colombiere the final climb of the day before a descent in Grand Bornand. Watch the race from 2030 AEST on SBS and SBS OnDemand, with the racing commencing on the SKODA Tour Tracker from 2100 AEST. 

Watch the FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España, Dakar Rally, World Athletics / ISU Championships (and more) via SBS On Demand – your free live streaming and catch-up service.
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4 min read
Published 3 July 2021 at 3:50am
By SBS Cycling Central
Source: SBS