For the seventh consecutive day, Deceuninck – Quick-Step were represented in the stage top 10.
Stage 7 was the last opportunity for sprinters on the opening week of the race and our team was keen on being involved in the fight for a good result. As a result, Kasper Asgreen resumed pace-setting duties, tenaciously marshalling the peloton from kilometer zero and wiping out the lead of the two attackers in the second part of this edition’s longest stage (230 kilometers).
The bunch drew closer and pulled back the breakaway ahead of the 10km-to-go mark, as the pace continued to go up and the sprinters’ teams began fighting for positioning on the wide roads to Chalon-sur-Saône, where the race returned after more than three decades.
Julian Alaphilippe, Yves Lampaert, Michael Mørkøv and Maximiliano Richeze formed a strong and impressive lead-out for Elia Viviani, bringing the Italian speedster into position and deploying him at the front with 200 meters remaining, but unfortunately his chances were hampered by a slow flat and all that he could do was finish sixth on the stage won by Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma).
“After the last corner I noticed that my wheel wasn’t steady and I realised at once that it was a puncture and I wouldn’t be able to sprint properly. It was bad luck, and it makes me sad, because the guys worked hard today to bring back the escapees and put me at the front with the finish line in sight. But that’s sport, and there’s nothing you can do in this kind of situations”, a disappointed Elia explained.
Photo credit: ©Justin Setterfield/ Getty Images