Van Aert wins thrilling stage seven as Sagan's plan undone

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Wout van Aert triumphed in a sprint finish to win a hectic stage seven of the Tour de France as Peter Sagan rued an ugly end to finish outside of the top 10.

Jumbo-Visma rider Van Aert was the strongest finisher on the relatively flat 168-kilometre route from Millau to Lavaur to clinch a second stage win of a fine 2020 Tour.

Sprint legend Sagan reclaimed the lead in the race for the green jersey after taking 17 points in the earlier intermediate sprint with his Bora-Hansgrohe team boldly attacking right from the off in a bid to put him in the frame for victory.

But a messy finish in which he was boxed in on the right and lost his chain after attempting to go again meant the team's hard work was undone.

Edvald Boasson Hagen held off Bryan Coquard to cross the line second, while Sam Bennett – who previously led the race for the green jersey – was part of a group 14 minutes back. 

Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) retained the yellow jersey, while fellow general classification challengers Tom Dumoulin, Egan Bernal, Primoz Roglic were all unscathed.

Tadej Pogacar, who was third in the general classification standings prior to Friday's ride, struggled in the crosswinds, though, and lost one minute and 10 seconds.

Thomas De Gendt had swept up a trio of king of the mountains points after the day's third categorised climb and he made a brave lone break with around 75km to go but was swallowed up with roughly 35km remaining as the chasing pack jostled for position.


VAN AERT A STAR AS SAGAN STRUGGLES

Van Aert showed his class as an all-rounder and would likely have been the strongest man in the sprint regardless of Sagan's wobble.

"I'm really proud of this win. Straight from the gun it was all out and I have to say that it was an impressive stage from Bora-Hansgrohe because they went flat out on the first KOM and made sure a lot of sprinters were dropped already," he said. 

"After that, it was always hectic and everyone feared the crosswinds. In the final, we saw that it was worth it to put a lot of energy into positioning, and I was with Primoz [Roglic] the whole stage in the front, so it was a good day for the team. 

"A few favourites from the GC lost a lot of time. It was a good finish and incredible to win."

Sagan could have made a big statement in a bid to win an eighth points classification title but it was not his day.


STAGE RESULT

1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo Visma) 3:32:03
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NTT Pro Cycling) +0:00
3. Bryan Coquard (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) +0:00
4. Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) +0:00
5. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) +0:00


CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) 30:36:00
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +0:03
3. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +0:09

Points Classification

1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 138
2. Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 129
3. Wout van Aert (Jumbo Visma) 106

King of the Mountains

1. Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R La Mondiale) 25
2. Michael Gogl (NTT Pro Cycling) 12
3. Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb) 11


WHAT'S NEXT

Stage eight sees the Tour head to the Pyrenees with a 141km ride from Cazeres-sur-Garonne to finish downhill in Loudenvielle after three intermediate climbs.


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