SAN DIEGO, July 11, 2014 – With sprinter Mark Cavendish out of the race, Omega Pharma Quickstep teammate Matteo Trentin of Italy stepped up and battled to the finish with Peter Sagan of Cannondale for a photo finish victory on Stage 7 at the 2014 Tour de France.
No one was likely happier than Cavendish, who has been watching the race from his hospital bed in England after shoulder surgery.
“Surprisingly, I wasn’t feeling good this morning,” said Trentin after the win. “But on the way, I felt better and better… But at the end, I really thought that Sagan had passed me. It’s wonderful for the team, especially after six days of bad luck. We’ve had punctures, crashes, wrong timing for attacking, chain drop, etc. Since Cavendish crashed, we try all we can to go for a stage victory.
Sagan shrugged off getting nipped and finishing second, saying “When I win, people complain that I win easily and now people think it’s strange that I don’t win, but the reality is that it’s not easy to win… This is another good day for the green jersey but something extra is missing and that’s a stage win. However, there’s still a long way away in the Tour de France and my day will come. At least I hope so.”
Andrew Talansky was in contention for the sprint but looked away for the briefest moment and ran into the wheel of teammate Simon Gerrans, going down hard with barely 100 meters to the finish. Topping it off, he was t-boned by another rider as he fell. Talansky got off the pavement and finished the stage, and because his fall was within the final three kilometers, he will not lose any time. The extent of any injuries to Talansky is unknown.
Tejay Van Garderen of BMC went down after an Orica Greenedge rider coming up behind him touched wheels and brought down several riders. Van Garderen’s bike was wrecked with the team car too far behind to wait. BMC figured out quickly that teammate Peter Velits was closest in size to Van Garderer and handed over his bike. Van Garderen rode the unfamiliar bike to the finish.
Van Garderen lost time and is now in 18th place three minutes and 14 seconds behind the leaders. It could have been a lot worse without Velits’ quick thinking move. BMC teammate Daniel Oss said after the stage of Van Garderen, “I know he crashed, and the race was so hard, so fast. I think there isn’t word for describe this (the finish).”
If Van Garderen wants to have a chance to stand on the podium in Paris, he will have to make big moves on the mountain stages.
GC contender Richie Porte, now the team leader of Omega Pharma Quickstep gained a little time and is now sitting in sixth place 1:54 back. Andrew Talansky is 2:05 back, Alejandro Valverde and Rui Costa are both 2:11 back, and Alberto Contador is 2:37 back of the leader.
In the jersey race, yellow remains on the back of Tour leader Vicenzo Nibali of Cannondale, whose Cannondale team kept him safe and sound to the finish today. Peter Sagan retains the green sprinter’s jersey and also the best young rider’s white jersey. Cyril Lemoine of Cofidis keeps the polka dot jersey.
The polka dot jersey will change hands Saturday. Mountain specialists and GC riders including Van Garderen need to step up on Saturday for Stage 8, which heads south toward the Swiss border. Three climbs (two Cat 2 and one Cat 3) await the riders in the last 15 miles of the stage. We will find out who is a contender and who is a pretender in this year’s Tour with this test.
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. Follow the Tour de France daily in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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