Tour de France Tour de France 2021, Stage 7: Vierzon – Le Creusot, 249.1 km

At the request of @BlueRoads, here's the Stage 7 thread a day earlier than usual.

Stage 7: Vierzon – Le Creusot, 249.1 km
The longest stage since 2000, taking in the kind of hard mid-mountain terrain that we rarely see in the Tour. Signal d’Uchon, the first – and arguably hardest – cat. 2 of the race is only 18.1 kilometers from the finish, will we see the GC favourites join in when the likes of Alaphilippe start attacking? It’s also a return to the host of the closing time-trials in 1998 and 2006, with Pantani and Landis ensuring they’d wear the yellow jersey in Paris and Ullrich and Honchar winning the stages… so let’s hope for a more positive slice of cycling history here.

Map and profile




Route details
The first 150 kilometers are mostly flat, with only an intermediate sprint to break up the monotony. There’s some open roads early on, but I doubt anyone wants to turn the screw with 200-plus kilometers to go even if the wind blows…



An uncategorised rise after 150 kilometers signals the entrance into the Morvan massif, and the first official climb, Côte de Château-Chinon, follows shortly after.



The next climb is Côte de Glux-en-Glenne. Officially only 2.6 kilometers in length, but the road starts to rise well before that.



The next 40 kilometers are predominantly downhill, then the finale starts with Côte de la Croix de la Libération. Just like Signal d’Uchon after it, the average gradient masks the difficulty due to a brief descent as they take an alternative, harder route of Autun – you can tell ASO have really tried with this stage!



Up next is the main course, Signal d’Uchon, consisting of 4-5 kilometers of fairly straightforward climbing to soften up the legs, a brief descent, then the final 1.8 kilometers averaging 10.6% with bonification seconds up top. That section alone is somewhere between the hardest climbs in the Ardennes races and Murgil Tontorra in San Sebastian. We can only hope it’s raced properly, coming one day ahead of the Alps.



The good news is that the run-in to the finish features very little flat, also featuring the final climb of the day, the Côte de la Gourloye (see below).

Final kilometers
Added in my profile of the entire section after Signal d’Uchon here. Not much else to say about this one, it’s a relatively straightforward end to the stage. There’s no warning for a narrowing at the sharp bend at 1.6 kilometers to go, which means the traffic island should be removed and the road should therefore be quite wide here. The finish will again come into view quite late with the final 500 meters heading constantly uphill and to the right.



 
I think there will be a big break with someone not too far down the gc sneaking in to wear yellow for a day. It feels like that kind of stage. That said, the first half being so flat could make things more difficult for attackers.

Also don't expect a single actual gc move.
 
Reactions: The Barb
I'm dreaming of an Alaphilippe raid for yellow, but I know it's a dream.

If Pog was in yellow we'd see a big break take the jersey for a day, but I'm not sure Alpecin will want to give it up so easy on Friday
 
If the stage doesn't go to the break you might be right. However I don't think he would be attacking in order to get yellow back, that train has left. If anything it would be an attempt to win the stage.
It depends on what break goes. Could actually have domestiques in the break and all. Hell maybe Pogacar just tries to bury Roglic already or some stuff. I honestly do think the climb is too hard for nothing to happen.
 
In 2019 De Gendt won the stage but Alaphilippe still moved on the last climb to take back yellow in Saint-Étienne. But like I said it's probably just a dream
That was an early yellow, for a (then still) classics rider, with the stage still in play (finished seconds behind TdG), and IIRC, half the Sky team crashing out during the pursuit.

Didn't he escape with Pinot on that one, and the assumption was that the French were cooperating to help set Thibaut up for HIS chance at yellow later on?
 
VdP in the breakaway. All GC guys think VdP will leave for Tokyo the day after, and happily give VdP 10 minutes, just to have a quiet day in the bunch for once. VdP wins the stage, and then does his big surprise move: he stays for Paris! Haha :D. Major shock. VdP then contests the Tour victory (and still goes to Tokyo to win the MTB of course). Cannibal 2.0.
 
Will be a great day of racing, these hard medium mountain stages before the big mountain ranges are such a great watch since theres so much at stake (thinking yellow primarily). Hopefully Van Aert and Julian tries to grab it. I wouldnt rule out a MVP-break alá Greg 2016 in yellow, that might just be his best defence on such a long day which his team cannot control.
 
Will be a great day of racing, these hard medium mountain stages before the big mountain ranges are such a great watch since theres so much at stake (thinking yellow primarily). Hopefully Van Aert and Julian tries to grab it. I wouldnt rule out a MVP-break alá Greg 2016 in yellow, that might just be his best defence on such a long day which his team cannot control.
I think with GvA, at least part of that was motivated/allowed by Richie Porte being BMC's team leader. We're living in a post-Alaphilippe'19 world, and I don't think anyone is letting a Classics rider of proven quality get into yellow and disappear up the road.
 
VdP in the breakaway. All GC guys think VdP will leave for Tokyo the day after, and happily give VdP 10 minutes, just to have a quiet day in the bunch for once. VdP wins the stage, and then does his big surprise move: he stays for Paris! Haha :D. Major shock. VdP then contests the Tour victory (and still goes to Tokyo to win the MTB of course). Cannibal 2.0.
Don't be ridiculous. Pidcock will eat him alive.
 
Reactions: KZD

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