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We’ve been speculating for days when the first successful breakaway would go all the way and take the stage win. Stage 6 to Mont Aigoual finally delivered a day where a strong break got themselves organised and stayed away after a slow pace delivered by the GC.
Alexey Lutsenko takes the win and takes a huge amount of pride for not only himself but his home country. With the colours of Kazakhstan broad across his chest Lutsenko becomes the first Kazakh since his team manager Alexander Vinokourov back in 2010 to win a stage at the Tour. For a team that’s been around for 14 years now it’s surprising that this is only Astana’s 13th stage success at the Tour de France. More stages will come of course and in Miguel Ángel López the team still have something to fight for.
Lutsenko should win more stages at this Tour and will surely be in more breakaways. The man himself continues triumph and continues to perform at the highest level. As soon as today’s break went, we knew it would be possible for them to stay away. Greg Van Avermaet, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Nico Roche, Jesús Herrada and Neilson Powless are five names that make a powerful breakaway that can make it to the finish – which they did.
The final climb of the day at the Col de la Lusette saw Powless attack but with nothing left to give. Lutsenko rode clever to close gaps and then take up the acceleration himself. A strong second place for Spanish rider Herrada who has taken a stage at the Vuelta before and could have been a threat to the stage today. He’ll be back for more and we’ll keep willing Team Sunweb’s Nico Roche on as the Irishman has never won a Tour stage.
For the GC is was like watching a goalless draw at a football match. INEOS Grenadiers had control at the front to keep Egan Bernal ticking along nicely but the pace wasn’t putting anyone into difficulty. Even former world champion Alejandro Valverde was seen smiling at the lack of pace in the main peloton up the Lusette!
Yet that isn’t necessarily a bad thing for Ineos. Why put on a strong pace at the front and waste lots of energy before you’ve even reached the serious stages at this Tour. Andrey Amador and Pavel Sivakov are nursing injuries, they should come good in the final week but there is still a big question as to whether Ineos look up to it. Jumbo-Visma had a quiet day, Tadej Pogačar did have a small mechanical, his teammate Fabio Aru went on the attack and one rider we haven’t seen or talked about as much is Movistar’s Enric Mas. The Spaniard suffered from a small crash today but nothing too serious – we hope to see him come good at this Tour.
Adam Yates remains in the yellow jersey and looked fresh at the front alongside teammates Mikel Nieve and Esteban Chaves. Unless anything unexpected happens tomorrow, Yates will carry the jersey into the Pyrénées. Mitchelton-Scott are still adamant that Adam Yates is targeting stage wins and not the general classification but is that true? We are only in the first week but he’s looking in good shape at the moment before the serious climbs start to begin. Last year we saw his twin brother Simon win two stages in the Pyrénées so could Adam try and do the same?
Julian Alaphilippe stole a march to claw back a second, the Frenchman also looking in great shape too. Every contender seems to be locked inside the shed at the moment, not much between them but knowing that with the mountains incoming we could see some shake-ups.
Sam Bennett remains in green, a proud day for Ireland and AG2R’s Benoit Cosnefroy should keep the polka-dot jersey before the high mountains. Could he go on the attack and claim more points?
Millau to Lavaur tomorrow should be another chance for the sprinters unless the wind blows. Two more days until the race arrives in the Pyrénées, the first week is slowly coming to an end and still we have no clear idea who will win the 107th Tour de France.