Sun, Jul 15, 2018 - Page 11 News List

A ‘transfer’ stage: Time to relax on longest leg of Tour

AP, CHARTRES, France

Peter Sagan thrust his arm and fist forward like Superman.

Chris Froome calmly dropped back to his team car to get his seat adjusted by a mechanic.

Other riders chatted as they admired the rolling countryside.

With nearly six hours in the saddle and hardly any action until the finale, there was on Friday plenty of time to relax and fool around during the longest stage of the Tour de France.

“Boring stage,” said Sagan, the three-time reigning world champion. “You’re happy it was a sunny day, no wind, without stress. But it was boring.

Dutch rider Dylan Groenewegen won the stage ahead of Fernando Gaviria, who like Sagan has also won two stages in this year’s Tour.

Four-time champion Froome and the other favorites finished safely in the main peloton on stage 7, which — unlike earlier sprinting legs — was without serious crashes.

Gaviria and Sagan were marking each other when Groenewegen surprised both and surged ahead on the final straight.

The 231km trek from Fougeres, home to the best-preserved and largest medieval fortress in Europe, concluded in Chartres, site of a vast cathedral known for its stained-glass windows.

Days such as these are referred to as “transfer” stages, for moving the Tour from one area to the next — from Brittany to north-central France in this case, as the race winds toward tomorrow’s highly awaited cobblestoned leg to Roubaix, near the Belgian border.

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