Remco Evenepoel spent the stage in the Belgian Champion jersey.
The peloton gathered in Utiel Friday for the start of the seventh stage, for a 200.8km journey to Oliva, one of the pro teams’ favourite destinations in the winter. The course was ideal for the riders to relax a bit after a hard and hectic day in the mountains, and for the sprinters to target a victory before what’s shaping up to be a tough weekend.
Two riders animated the day, but despite their best efforts, the maximum gap didn’t go over two minutes. When the breakaway entered Valencia – one of the cities that were on the route of the inaugural edition, when Austria’s Max Bulla took the glory – their advantage hovered around one minute and continued to go down with each kilometer, until the peloton became as one again, before the intermediate sprint.
Things remained calm until the final ten kilometers, when teams began jostling for position at the front, and this led to two separate crashes, which fortunately our riders avoided. A corner with 300 meters to go spiced up things, but it couldn’t prevent a mass gallop, which was won by Geoffrey Soupe (TotalEnergies).
Stage 3 winner Remco Evenepoel, resplendent in his beautiful Belgian National Champion jersey, came home with the rest of his Soudal Quick-Step teammates and remained the best-placed contender ahead of the steep Xorret de Cati.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images