SAN DIEGO, July 5, 2013 – It looked like a quiet day for the riders in the 2013 Tour de France, with a relatively flat Stage 7 save one climb, a bit of a placeholder after the long stage on Wednesday and the team time trial the previous day, and leading into mountain stages in the Pyrenees ahead.
Slovakian sprinter Peter Sagan of Cannondale had come out short on previous stages against his main rivals. Friday he called upon his Cannondale teammates to help him get a victory today. The team did it by setting a blistering fast pace at the front of this stage, causing a split in the peloton. Mark Cavendish of Omega Pharma Quickstep ended up off the pace with a large group off the back, and Andre Griepel of Lotto Belisol wasn’t able to answer the call.
It was Sagan beating John Degenkolb of Argos Shimano, Danielo Bennati of TST, Edvald Boasson Hagen of Sky Pro Racing and Marcel Kwaitkowski of Omega Pharma Quickstep for his first yellow jersey of 2013.
“This was a show of how strong we are as a team. All of our riders were committed to one thing and everyone trusts me now and they are prepared to work hard for me because they know that I want to do well,” said Sagan after his win. “We did a lot of work on the second climb and we dropped the sprinters and the team started to believe that we could do well. I had said, ‘We’ll pull only until we get to the intermediate sprint and then we’ll take it easy.’ I thought maybe another team would take over and lead through to the finish.
“My teammates didn’t understand why. They came to me and said, ‘But we can continue to ride! Why should we sit up now and wait for the sprinters?’ And then they went back to the front and worked very, very well,” concluded Sagan.
Sagan says his goal is to hold the green sprinters jersey all the way into Paris and the finish.
Orica-Greenedge rider Daryl Impey finished at the front of the peloton to keep the yellow jersey for a second stage. Orica-Greenedge has now led the Tour for four stages.
French rider Blel Kadri of AG2R-La Mondiale broke away from the peloton to win the mountain stage today, giving him the King of the Mountains jersey. Peter Sagan wears the sprinters green jersey. Marcel Kwiatkowski stays in white as the best young rider. Pierre Rolland remains the King of the Mountains, Team Orica Greenedge is holding the team lead.
On a sad note, well-liked American rider Christian Vande Velde of Garmin-Sharp had to abandon the race today due to injuries accured in several crashes through the early stages. There are now 188 riders in the Tour, with ten riders out.
After eight days of racing, Saturday brings the first big test of the 100th Tour de France. It’s the first stage in the Pyrenees Mountains including a climb up the Col de Pailhères. The overall contenders will show what they are made of. Expect Chris Froome and Porte of Sky Racing to throw down the gauntlet.
The Spainiards will be ready for them including Alberto Contador. This is their comfort zone. Cadel Evans of BMC Racing will show if he’s got the form at 36 years old to win another Tour. We will know a lot about the outcome of this race at the end of this stage.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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