Mohoric wins the first stage of the Tour, Roglic offside
Posted On July 4, 2021
LE CREUSOT, France – Matej Mohoric scored his first stage victory in the Tour de France on Friday after a long breakaway in the longest stage of the race.
The 249 kilometer (155 mile) hike from Vierzon to Le Creusot in the seventh stage was the longest in 21 years.
Mohoric was part of a group that formed more than 200 kilometers before the finish line. He set off solo in the final of the stage, using a difficult climb to drop his remaining breakaway companions and reach the finish line at Le Creusot on his own.
Mathieu van der Poel looked exhausted when he passed 1 minute, 40 seconds behind. He retains the yellow leader’s jersey with 30 seconds ahead of Wout van Aert,
“It was 250 kilometers full of gasoline,” said Van der Poel. “It went very quickly and we managed to break away from a very strong group, it was really difficult. I went all the way to keep this jersey, which is really special.”
Defending champion Tadej Pogacar was unable to enter the breakaway and rode behind with several other top contenders. Pogacar lost more than five minutes and fell to fifth place overall, 3:43 off the pace.
The biggest loser of the day was last year’s runner-up Primoz Roglic, who crashed earlier in the race. Roglic did not recover and struggled on the climb on Friday. He managed to arrive at the finish with a delay of more than nine minutes and his hopes of winning the three-week race are well and truly lost.
Roglic will likely now relinquish the management of Jumbo-Visma and work in support of Van Aert.
Mohoric, who rides for the Bahrain Victorious team, has now achieved stage victories in all three Grand Tours. He selected the polka dot jersey for the best climber.
The strong headwind made it difficult for the attacking riders to break out of the peloton in the early stages. After many unsuccessful attempts, a group of 29 competitors including Van der Poel and Van Aert managed to escape.
Pogacar UAE Team Emirates were caught off guard. When they finally moved to the front of the peloton to organize the chase, it was already too late. They tried to set up a brisk pace but had to do all the work because the rival teams didn’t budge.
The lead group collaborated well and quickly built a one-minute lead. Van der Poel took long laps leading a peloton that included former Grand Tours champions – Vincenzo Nibali and Simon Yates – and 10 former Tour stage winners. They rode at an impressive average speed of over 51 km / h in the first hour of the race and the time gap gradually increased to over 6.30 hours 90 kilometers from the end.
Behind them the field picked up the pace with more teams working up front and the gap started to narrow as Mohoric and Brent Van Moer let their breakaway mates down.
With 78 kilometers to go, the pair have created a constant gap as previously effective cooperation within the group comprising Van Aert and Van der Poel gave way to a series of disorganized attacks. Mahoric embarked alone on the difficult climb of Signal d’Uchon, an ascent with an average gradient of 11.5% over its last 1,500 meters.
The Slovenian runner crossed the first at the top and continued his impressive effort to the finish line.
Mohoric wins Tour 1, Roglic hors de combat originally appeared on NBCSports.com