12 July, 2014
Stage 7 : Arras - Reims, 194 km
Trentini pips Sagan for win
The margin was so close, barely the depth of a tyre, that winner Matteo Trentini actually congratulated runner-up Peter Sagan before realising he had won todays stage from Épernay to Nancy.
Six riders in the lead
Martin Elmiger (IAM) and Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp) were first attackers at km 6. They were rejoined at km 9 by Alexandre Pichot (Europcar), Matthew Busche (Trek), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) and Anthony Delaplace (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) to form a six-man breakaway group that enjoyed a maximum lead of 4.20 at km 25. Sprinters’ winning teams Giant-Shimano and Lotto-Belisol didn’t feel very concerned due to the difficult finale that didn’t favor German aces Marcel Kittel and André Greipel but Cannondale was prompt to take the responsibilities and set the pace of the peloton just over two minutes behind the breakaway riders for most of the race. It indicated Peter Sagan’s high ambitions to claim his first stage victory after he spent six days compiling a lot of points for his third consecutive quest of the green jersey.
Clement and Van Poppel out of the Tour
At km 40, Belkin’s road captain Stef Clement crashed and immediately pulled out of the Tour de France. 120 kilometres further, another Dutchman called it a race: Danny van Poppel (Trek). No other sprinters’ team than Cannondale came in help at the head of the peloton but GC contenders like Vincenzo Nibali, Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde showed up at the front in order to race safely.
Trentin outsprints Sagan
With 44km to go, Elmiger and Huzarski rode away again while their four breakaway companions got reeled in. They surrendered in the côte de Maron with 18km to go. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) briefly attacked and Tejay van Garderen (BMC) was involved in a crash that took his team-mate Darwin Atapuma out of the race with 16km to go. The American lost 1.02 on that occasion. In the last two kilometers, a few other crashes occurred while the leftover of the peloton was busy catching Peter Sagan and Greg van Avermaet who were gone in the côte de Boufflers with 5km to go. Richie Porte (Sky) brought the group back on them but it was a sprint finish in which Andrew Talansky (Garmin) went down. Sagan looked like being the winner, but the photo-finish declared Matteo Trentin (OPQS) number one in Nancy at the end of a superb final.