Preview: Everything you need to know about Stage 7 of 2016 Tour de France

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Stage 7, 2016 Tour de France

On Friday the Tour finally enters the high mountains with a 162.5 (101mi) stage from L’Isle-Jourdain to Lac de Payolle. With 2,230m (7,316ft) of climbing on the docket, it is a stage for the climbers of the peloton. The category 1 Col d’Aspin (12km at 6.5%) comes just before the finish, as the stage finishes in the valley below the climb, not on the summit. With a seven-kilometre descent to the finish a climber with cagey descending skills could see themselves victorious in Lac de Payolle.

Date: Friday, July 8
Start: L’Isle-Jourdain
Finish: Lac de Payolle
Distance: 162.5km (101mi)
Elevation Gain: 2230m (7316ft)

GC standings:

Tour de France (2.UWT) Arpajon-sur-Cère → Montauban

CAVENDISH Mark
1
CAVENDISH Mark Team Dimension Data
2
KITTEL Marcel Etixx - Quick Step
3
MCLAY Daniel Fortuneo - Vital Concept

VAN AVERMAET Greg

CAVENDISH Mark

ALAPHILIPPE Julian

DE GENDT Thomas

BMC Racing Team

Comment from race director, Christian Prudhomme: “As the Tour enters the Pyrenees, the pace should increase and the race enter a new dimension. The climb to the Col d’Aspin will be the only theater of battle on the day… in terms of climbing! But the descent heading to the Lac de Payolle, as splendid as it is technical, will also be a decisive exercise.”

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky): “I don’t think it will be [as decisive as last year’s opening mountain stage]. It’s predominantly flat all day, then a little fourth cat climb and then obviously the Aspin. It’s a tough climb but it shouldn’t be too selective I don’t think. The day after is harder with four big climbs and it’s going to be hot. I think that could be more selective for sure. Then obviously Andorra is the hardest stage of the race so far. I’m still feeling my ribs a bit but getting better every day. For Froomey I think if it’s hard like last year it would be nice for him to take time. But every day it’s getting tougher and I think that should favour him.”

Nairo Quintana (Movistar): “We’re rearing to go into the mountains. Tomorrow’s finale will be already difficult with the Aspin, where we hope that the road will start setting things straight in the race. Froome attacking on the first mountain day as in previous years? Well, I think we might see more of the same tomorrow!”

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “It will be an important day, and I feel like we could see something important tomorrow. However, I feel like the hardness on those two mountain stages from Saturday and Sunday might make tomorrow’s racing more conservative — we might not see as much of a difference on the Aspin as if the race scheme was less focused on the weekend.”

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal): “Tomorrow it’ll be difficult to get into the breakaway, but I hope for the right guys to be in there and take the [KOM] points away from my rivals. My goal is more to break away the day after.”

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing): “I will try to keep the [maillot jaune] tomorrow on the last climb and I hope that I might. We’ll see how the legs feel tomorrow but I’m going to try and keep it for as long as possible. Five minutes is a lot but not so much in a mountain stage. We will see tomorrow.”

Richie Porte (BMC Racing): “I’m looking forward to going back into some climbing. I’ve raced up Col d’Aspin quite a lot. I’ve done the recon on it this year. I think someone has to try there. It’s not the most technical descent down to the finish. The stage in Andorra is one of the hardest stages in the Tour this year, so we’ll have to evaluate on the day and in the moment and see what’s possible.”

Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing): “I don’t quite know what we’re expecting from tomorrow. A breakaway could win, or maybe we’ll see Movistar make another hard tempo like they did yesterday. There are possibilities, so we just have to be prepared for everything. The Andorra stage will certainly be one of the hardest stages.”

Julien Alaphilippe (Ettix-QuickStep): “Tomorrow will be the first of the three days we’ll spend in the Pyrenees, and to be quite frank, I don’t know what to expect from these stages. I will try my best, but I know that’s going to be very difficult to defend my [Best Young Rider] jersey.”

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