Stage 7 Preview – Back To The Fast Men!

As the wildest start in recent Tour history continues, Stage 7 offers a much-needed rest for the skinny guys, and another chance for Cav.

By Whit Yost |

Stage 7 – Mont-de-Marsan to Bordeaux (169.9km) – Friday, July 7

After two incredibly hard days in the Pyrenees, the 2023 Tour de France peloton gets a bit of an active rest day with a rolling 169.9km ride from Mont-de-Marsan to Bordeaux that should end in the third field sprint of the Tour.

This is one of the easiest stages of the Tour’s first week, with no challenges aside from the Category 4 Côte de Béguey. But at 38.9km from the finish line in Bordeaux, it should do little more than warm-up the riders’ legs for the finale.

The run-in to the finish line is technical, and there will be some tense moments as the peloton barrels into downtown Bordeaux. Some hard cornering between 4km- and 2km-to-go could make things dicey as the riders pass under and then sweep up and onto a bridge taking them over the Garonne River. But once they’re over the bridge and through a sweeping chicane on the other side, it’s a long, straight shot to the finish line on a riverside boulevard.

Jumbo-Visma should have no issues protecting Denmark’s Jonas Vingegaard, who took the yellow jersey after finishing second to Slovenia’s Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) on Stage 6. And they’ll get lots of help: with a hilly stage on Saturday that looks perfect for a breakaway to go the distance and a summit finish on the famous Puy de Dôme on Sunday, this is possibly the sprinters’ last opportunity to win a stage before the Tour’s first rest day. So their teams will be willing to do the work necessary to control the front of the peloton–and after two days in which they were happy to drop off the back and ride in the grupetto, they’re fresh too.

The weather forecast calls for intense heat with highs in the 90s and a chance for thunderstorms in the afternoon, which could produce wet roads as the race heads into Bordeaux.

Riders to watch

Belgium’s Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) was untouchable in field sprints at the end of Stages 3 and 4 and there’s no reason to expect anything less at the end of Stage 7. He has the best lead-out man in the world right now–Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel–and a team fully committed to helping him win. And given how few stages remain for sprinters in this year’s Tour, a third stage win for the Belgian might put the green jersey out of anyone else’s reach.

All eyes will also be on Great Britain’s Mark Cavendish (Astana) and his quest to set a new record for the most stage wins in Tour history. Cav won a stage in Bordeaux back in 2010 and would love to make history by doubling-up thirteen years later.

When to Watch

Like Stage 4 earlier in the week, Stage 7 could be a bit of a snoozer as the GC contenders and their teams will be happy to ride a gentle tempo while the sprinters’ team do much of the heavy lifting. So tune-in around 5pm to watch the final 10km.

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