Mohorič conquers longest Tour stage from massive breakaway

A long, hard stage was filled with action as a big breakaway shaped the action on the longest day of racing in 21 years of competition of the Tour de France as Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious) attacked clear to win the stage.

The Slovenian made an imposing early break that contained race leader Mathieu van der Poel (Alepcin-Fenix) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) locked in their own personal battle to take the yellow jersey. He attacked clear with Brent van Moer (Lotto Soudal) on the Cote de Chateau-Chinon with 80 kilometres remaining in the race.

Mohorič looked the stronger of the pair, and even the strongest of a quartet when they were joined by further riders attacking from the break. He used that power to attack on the steepest climb remaining in the race, the Signal d'Urchon, escaping on the steep slopes and riding strongly for the remaining 22 kilometres to win the race handily from Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) with Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo) leading a group of chasers home for third.

“I knew that today was a good stage for me,” said Mohorič. “I checked through the roadbook for the other stages, so I knew how much to focus on one day only. There is practically only one more stage that suits my characteristics, so I thought maybe it was a good idea to go and try and win a stage.

“I somehow got into the breakaway, but then I saw it had super-strong riders, so I didn’t think I could make it on the last climb if I waited. So I decided to try and go early.

“I didn’t think I would go after the first KOM, because I was just sprinting for the jersey. But then, when there was a gap, I thought: ‘why not?’.

“I rode steadily, with in mind how many kilometres there was to go. Then, kilometre by kilometre, they were ticking off, and I was still feeling OK. I just pushed all the way to the line, and I really couldn’t believe it until the last kilometre."

With the victory Mohorič completed a sweep of wins across all three Grand Tours, putting him into an elite club.

“I won stages at the Giro and the Vuelta, but this is something else completely," said Mohorič. "This is the biggest race in the world. I think it will take some time to settle in.”

[tdf widget="stagewinners" stage="7"]

Van der Poel fought out a battle with van Aert for the yellow jersey, the pair locked together throughout the stage, with the Dutchman retaining his race lead with a titanic effort.

Back in the peloton it was a rough day for Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) as the steep slope of Signal d'Urchon took their toll on his battered body from a nasty crash on Stage 3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) flew away in an attack on his fellow GC contenders, but his assault was ultimately nullified by the finish, with the bunch catching him on the finish line. 

[tdf widget="tourleaders" stage="7"]

249 kilometres of racing lay ahead of the riders for Stage 7 of the Tour de France, and the pace was hot early with every team keen to make the initial move and avoid the duties of leading the chase over the lengthy route. 

The longest stage wasn't short on drama, with a large breakaway forcing its way clear after 40 kilometres of racing. The yellow jersey of the race leader Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) highlighted the move, along with sprint classification leader Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and winner of all three Grand Tours Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo).

Australian Harry Sweeny, Philippe Gilbert, Brent Van Moer (all Lotto Soudal), Toms Skujins, Jasper Stuyven (both Trek-Segafredo), Xandro Muerisse (Alpecin-Fenix), Wout van Aert, Mike Teunissen (both Jumbo-Visma), Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Imanol Erviti, Ivan Cortina (Movistar), Magnus Cort, Ruben Guerreiro (both EF Education-Nippo), Michael Schar, Dorion Godon (AG2R Citroën), Jan Bakelants, Danny Van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange), Dylan van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), Christophe Laporte (Cofidis), Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka NextHash), Soren Kragh Andersen (Team DSM), Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious), Hugo Houle (Astana-Premier Tech) and Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels) joined the move to make for an impressive group of 29 off the front.

UAE Team Emirates immediately took to the front of the race to assume responsibility for the chase, but received no help and the lead grew steadily throughout the stage.

The intermediate sprint was contested, but there were no top sprinters to faze the points jersey wearer Mark Cavendish, who collected 20 points on a day where his main rivals scored none.

The lead for the breakaway riders stabilised at seven minutes as the escapees hit the climbs in the final hundred kilometres, with TotalEnergies coming to the front to assist UAE Team Emirates with the pursuit.

Mohoric and van Moer were the first to attack from the breakaway, going clear in the pursuit of mountains points on the Côte de Chateau-Chinon. The pair built up a lead of 40 seconds before a counterattack from the peloton by Victor Campanaerts (Qhubeka-NextHash) and Jasper Stuyven (Terk-Segafredo) bridged its way over the front pair, joining them with 46 kilometres remaining in the race. 

The new quartet pushed their lead out to a minute and 40 seconds, as Mohoric looked by far the strongest on the climbs, dropping Campanaerts on the ascent of the Cote de la Croix de la Liberation, summiting the climb with 41 kilometres left in the race.

Mohoric then pushed clear on the steep slopes of the Signal d'Urchon, the dougle-digit gradient climb seeing the Slovenian national champion open up a gap on van Moer and Stuyven. Konrad attacked from the remnants of the early breakaway, going clear on the steep slopes. However Mohoric was looking strong and he crested the climb with more than a minute's advantage on Konrad, with his previous companions stuck in between.

In the main bunch with the general classification favourites there was an unexpected victim of the strong pace-making from TotalEnergies, with Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) dropped with 22 kilometres left on the race, yo-yo-ing off the back of the peloton before being consigned to losing time on the day.

Carapaz attacked from the peloton over the top of the Signal d'Urchon, looking to gain time on his general classification rivals with Tadej Pogačar isolated having lost his UAE Team Emirates teammates to chase efforts earlier in the stage. The Ecuadorian flew off the front of the race, receiving assistance from van Baarle dropping back from the initial move to help. 

Mohoric ended up with a convincing advantage as he took victory in style, making a heart with his hands as he crossed the line alone. Stuyven survived to solo in for second, with Cort leading a chasing group home in the sprint to take third. 

Movistar came to the front to limit the losses to Carapaz, as he quickly built out a lead of thirty seconds, and they helped gradually reel in the 2019 Giro d'Italia champion, catching him on the line and nullifying any losses. The peloton finished five minutes and 15 seconds behind Mohoric, and three minutes and 35 seconds behind yellow jersey group of van der Poel, meaning that the race leader and van Aert both have three-minute buffers on the main climbers at present.

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.
Have a story or comment? Contact Us

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.
Watch nowOn Demand
Follow SBS Sport
7 min read
Published 3 July 2021 at 1:58am
By SBS Cycling Central
Source: SBS