Pogacar wins seventh stage to extend Tour de France lead
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Tadej Pogacar extended his overall lead in the Tour de France when he won the seventh stage, a 176.3-km ride between Tomblaine and the top of the Super Planche des Belles Filles on Friday.
The twice defending champion from Slovenia pipped last year’s runner-up Jonas Vingegaard of Denmark to the line at the end of a punishing ascent with gradients going over 20% at times in a final kilometre raced on dusty roads.
Primoz Roglic, the 2020 runner-up, took third place, 12 seconds behind.
Overall, Pogacar leads Vingegaard by 35 seconds with Britain’s Geraint Thomas sitting in third place, one minute and 10 seconds off the pace.
The day’s breakaway, which took shape after a super fast start, featured former Tour stage winners Lennard Kaemna, Simon Geschke and Dylan Teuns and built an advantage of almost three minutes.
Bora-Hansgrohe rider Kaemna and Geschke jumped away from the group at the foot of the final climb and the former went solo 4.8km from the top with the group of favourites chasing one minute behind.
Russian Alexandr Vlasov, one of the riders tipped to make it onto the podium in Paris, was dropped with 4km left and lost 1:39.
German Kaemna still had a 40-second lead going into the final kilometre when Pogacar decided to take the matter into his own hands.
The 23-year-old’s acceleration left his rivals gasping for air but Vingegaard managed to take his wheel and countered after the duo caught Kaemna with less than 100 metres to go.
The Dane had a couple of bike lengths on Pogacar and seemed to be heading for victory when the UAE rider produced a final burst of speed to go around Vingegaard and take his second stage win in two days.
Kaemna took fourth place while Thomas was fifth, both crossing the line 14 seconds behind the yellow jersey holder.
France’s David Gaudu finished sixth, 19 seconds adrift, to move up to fifth overall, 1:31 off the pace and 13 seconds behind Briton Adam Yates, who is fourth.