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TDF 2020 - Stage 7 Millau - Lavaur 168 km *Spoilers*

Stage 7 Millau - Lavaur 168 km

At 168 kilometres, the 7th stage on the Tour de France travels from Millau to Lavaur. Sprinters or attackers? The route winds its way northeast of Toulouse through the rugged interior of France.
On narrow country roads the riders head from Millau to Lavaur.



In the areas of Aveyron and Tarn where one doesn’t quite know what “flat” means, the roads are never easy. Other than the hilly course, before visiting Castres, the plans of the sprinters’ teams could be troubled by the wind that can be very strong in the region. In fact, the region is renowned for it.
The stage from Millau to Lavau precedes a weekend of climbing in the Pyrenees. Which does not necessarily mean that this will be an easy day, as racing in the Garonne region is never easy.



The riders start near the Millau Viaduct, which is the tallest cable-stayed road bridge in the world, and set off for a lumpy stage with a number of climbs standing out.



The longest ascent is situated halfway. The Col de Peyronnenc adds up 13.5 kilometres, but the average gradient is doable: 3.9%.



Right after a prolonged downhill the riders tackle the second categorised climb of the day. The Côte de Paulhe is just 1.1 kilometres long and slopes at 7% before a last bumpy phase leads onto 40 kilometres on the flat.







The 7th stage on the Tour de France is far from flat, but the sprinters should be able to survive the uphills. Yet, the Aveyron and Tarn regions can be windy, so echelons could have an impact on how the race unfolds.

Favourites 7th stage 2020 Tour de France

*** Caleb Ewan, Wout van Aert, Sam Bennett
** Elia Viviani, Giacomo Nizzolo, Peter Sagan
*Mads Pedersen, , Bryan Coquard, Sonny Colbrelli, Cees Bol, Alexander Kristoff

Millau
Six previous stages

Population: 22,800
Left out of the Tour route for 28 years, Millau was back on the map in 2018 for the start of a stage to Carcassonne won by Dane Magnus Cort Nielsen before the rest day. While Ferdi Kubler was the first winner of a tour stage in Millau in1954. Millau has seen many pelotons ride past, especially during the defunct Grand prix du Midi Libre.



On the Tour, the last stage winner before Cort Nielsen was Marino Lejarreta, who finished twice 5th overall in the GC. Winner on the Vuelta in 1982, the Basque rider took part in 27 Grand Tours in his career, riding all three in the same year four times (only Adam Hansen improved the feat by doing it six times in succession).

The viaduct
2,460 m long and 343 m high at its highest point. The first stone was laid on December 14, 2001.
On December 16, 2004, the viaduct was open to the public.



Lavaur

Two previous stages

Population: 11,200
The Tour de France has made it a tradition to come to Lavaur every ten years. A first stage starting in Pau was won by Rik Verbrugghe in 2011 while, ten years later, the unavoidable Mark Cavendish won the bunch sprint for on of his five wins in the 2011 editions. In 2001, Laurent Jalabert seized the polka-dot jersey and kept it all the way to Paris.

Spécialties : bougnettes, melsat (delicatessen), pink garlic from Lautrec, Gaillac wines. Garbure (soup).











"Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.
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Posts

  • ProssPross Posts: 29,930
    Glad you got it right that it's the tallest bridge and not the highest ;)
  • I thought Bol looked pretty good yesterday - he's likely to be the one with a lead out again.
  • I did say that things were returning more to high Summer.
    Weather at tomorrow's finish:



    That wind looks like it might just do the business.
    Cross for a large section mid race, but cross tail all the way from Castres.
    So now the all important weather forecast for Castres......................



    There may be trouble ahead. :)
    "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.
  • DeadCalmDeadCalm Posts: 3,760
    Not good for my man Pinot, who is almost guaranteed to lose time if there are echelons, but the race needs some time gaps to encourage attacks.
    Team My Man 2022:

    Antwan Tolhoek, Sam Oomen, Tom Dumoulin, Thymen Arensman, Remco Evenepoel, Simon Carr, Tom Pidcock, Mark Cavendish, Romain Bardet
  • ProssPross Posts: 29,930
    Looks promising, you never know. The worry would be whether anyone is prepared to do it the day before hitting the Pyrenees, I suppose there's a risk that a team like DQS without an out and out GC rider could decide to cause chaos if the conditions are right. It will add to the nerves.
  • Pross said:

    Looks promising, you never know. The worry would be whether anyone is prepared to do it the day before hitting the Pyrenees, I suppose there's a risk that a team like DQS without an out and out GC rider could decide to cause chaos if the conditions are right. It will add to the nerves.

    Luckily the prime ambush spot is along all of the final 40kms, so it's going to be very, very nervous at least.
    "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.
  • DeadCalmDeadCalm Posts: 3,760
    Pross said:

    Looks promising, you never know. The worry would be whether anyone is prepared to do it the day before hitting the Pyrenees, I suppose there's a risk that a team like DQS without an out and out GC rider could decide to cause chaos if the conditions are right. It will add to the nerves.

    DQS, Lotto, Sunweb, Trek (even they can't think Porte is a genuine contender, can they?) might think it's worth a shot. Please let it be so.
    Team My Man 2022:

    Antwan Tolhoek, Sam Oomen, Tom Dumoulin, Thymen Arensman, Remco Evenepoel, Simon Carr, Tom Pidcock, Mark Cavendish, Romain Bardet
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 57,871 Lives Here

    I thought Bol looked pretty good yesterday - he's likely to be the one with a lead out again.

    Lotta pressure on his shoulders given they went for him over Matthews. So far seems a fair swap.
  • andypandyp Posts: 8,726

    I thought Bol looked pretty good yesterday - he's likely to be the one with a lead out again.

    Lotta pressure on his shoulders given they went for him over Matthews. So far seems a fair swap.
    I thought it was hugely risky to a) come with a sprint focused team and b) have Bol as your main sprinter but so far Sunweb have punched above their weight. He's come third, seventh and second in the first three bunch sprints of the Tour which is impressive, especially as he's not really shown previously that he's able to perform at this level.
  • RichN95.RichN95. Posts: 25,519
    Statistic of the day.

    This is Ineos/Sky's 100th Grand Tour stage since the last won one (Thomas on Alpe d'Huez)
    Twitter: @RichN95
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 17,135
    edited September 2020
    Might be their last too.
    Burning out riders going up a climb and not making headway on the breakaway?
    Inconceivable!
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • DeadCalmDeadCalm Posts: 3,760
    RichN95. said:

    Statistic of the day.

    This is Ineos/Sky's 100th Grand Tour stage since the last won one (Thomas on Alpe d'Huez)

    And if they continue riding like they did today, it'll be another 100 stages until they win one.
    Team My Man 2022:

    Antwan Tolhoek, Sam Oomen, Tom Dumoulin, Thymen Arensman, Remco Evenepoel, Simon Carr, Tom Pidcock, Mark Cavendish, Romain Bardet
  • ProssPross Posts: 29,930
    RichN95. said:

    Statistic of the day.

    This is Ineos/Sky's 100th Grand Tour stage since the last won one (Thomas on Alpe d'Huez)

    Bernal was slightly robbed last year though.
  • hypsterhypster Posts: 1,210
    Looks like the Millau viaduct is going to be the highlight of another dull stage.
  • First rule of echelons: if commentators are taking about the possibility of echelons there are not about to be any echelons.

    If there are going to be echelons people will be doing all sorts of silly things to hold position and panic will be spreading though the peloton, and commentators will be talking about the consequences of that instead. Talking up the possibility of echelons is a tacit admission nothing is currently happening.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 17,135

    First rule of echelons: if commentators are taking about the possibility of echelons there are not about to be any echelons.

    If there are going to be echelons people will be doing all sorts of silly things to hold position and panic will be spreading though the peloton, and commentators will be talking about the consequences of that instead. Talking up the possibility of echelons is a tacit admission nothing is currently happening.

    Deep. 😉
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • blazing_saddlesblazing_saddles Posts: 18,254
    edited September 2020
    Well, I am going to talk up echelons as there's been little else to talk about.
    40kms to go and the race is more or less heading West all the way home.
    Now, where would the perfect wind need to come from?
    So, another forecast.



    50kph gusts.

    I bags at 22kms to go for sounding the klaxon.
    "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.
  • Well, I am going to talk up echelons as there's been little else to talk about.

    The logic doesn't work for previews! It's nice to have something to look forward to...
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 23,355
    In fairness to Misters Boulting and Millar, they waited until 30km to talk about echelons on Tuesday and I reckon 95% of it was the director in their ears going, "For Christs sake guys, Ive got to put an hour of highlights together soon, just say something, ANYTHING, that might, sound exciting with no other context!!"
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • To be even more fair they started talking about it because Ineos were suddenly drilling it on the front and stringing things out, and they were talking more about what was happening at that moment - eg riders starting to panic. It didn't happen, in the end, but it was close enough to happening that the early signs were there.

    On the other hand, if the conversation is "there might be echelons later on today" then nothing is happening and you can safely turn off the TV. Carlton managed this landmark within the first 5km today, fwiw.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 17,135
    Well, I've gone for a sprint finish in the PTP.
    Pretty much guarantees echelons and splits. 😉
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • mididoctorsmididoctors Posts: 10,450
    "If I was a 38 year old man, I definitely wouldn't be riding a bright yellow bike with Hello Kitty disc wheels, put it that way. What we're witnessing here is the world's most high profile mid-life crisis" Afx237vi Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:43 pm
  • Just realised I might have been thinking about the wrong stage.... Being able to watch the live in full whilst working means they sort of bleed into each other more than usual.
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 18,132
    edited September 2020
    They took a roundabout out last time it came to Lavaur apparently, just after it had been built. The contractor did it and reinstated it at no cost (!).

    It's not on the road book, so must have gone. Last roundabout just before the flamme rouge.
  • hypster said:

    Looks like the Millau viaduct is going to be the highlight of another dull stage.

    Ah right this stage is in that area - nice round there.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • blazing_saddlesblazing_saddles Posts: 18,254
    edited September 2020

    Well, I am going to talk up echelons as there's been little else to talk about.

    The logic doesn't work for previews! It's nice to have something to look forward to...
    Nope.
    Apparently the logic works for previews as well.
    The wind has moved a few points overnight and is now pretty much a tailwind.
    That 22km mark I picked:




    Oh well.

    Edit:
    (looking around the various French weather sites, the majority do still forecast a South Easterly, so we'll say nothing more and see....)
    "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.
  • It's not too far from where Pinot lost 100 seconds last year because he went the wrong way around a roundabout.
  • DeadCalmDeadCalm Posts: 3,760
    There'll be PTP carnage if Bennett gets caught the wrong side of a split.
    Team My Man 2022:

    Antwan Tolhoek, Sam Oomen, Tom Dumoulin, Thymen Arensman, Remco Evenepoel, Simon Carr, Tom Pidcock, Mark Cavendish, Romain Bardet
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 17,135
    DeadCalm said:

    There'll be PTP carnage if Bennett gets caught the wrong side of a split.

    That's what I predicted.
    After picking him. 🤣🤣🤣
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • ProssPross Posts: 29,930

    Well, I am going to talk up echelons as there's been little else to talk about.

    The logic doesn't work for previews! It's nice to have something to look forward to...
    Nope.
    Apparently the logic works for previews as well.
    The wind has moved a few points overnight and is now pretty much a tailwind.
    That 22km mark I picked:




    Oh well.

    Edit:
    (looking around the various French weather sites, the majority do still forecast a South Easterly, so we'll say nothing more and see....)
    There's still options before Castres if the wind is more easterly. Biggest issue will be whether the speeds are as high as predicted as they haven't been in previous days.
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