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- SA duo up for prestigious world awards
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- Health issues as South Africa play catch-up in India
- Team SA head off to Angola on Region 5 Games mission
MTN-Qhubeka’s dream tour continues in seventh stage
- Updated: July 11, 2015
MTN-Qhubeka had another great day at the Tour de France on Friday with Daniel Teklehaimanot retaining his King of the Mountains competition lead on stage seven.
The Tour finally saw its first real mass bunch sprint of this year’s race with Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quickstep) taking the win in Fougeres. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) was second and Peter Sagan rounded out the podium in third.
Africa’s first team to do duty in the Tour, MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung had Teklehaimanot defending the Polka Dot jersey he had earned on Thursday.
With a category 4 climb coming just 12km into the stage, Daniel was keen to show off his new jersey in the break as he looked to further his lead in the King of the Mountians competition. He was successful in his task and got into a five-rider move inside the first 5km.
The Eritrean would comfortably take the single point on offer at the top of the Cote de Canapville. Initially the team plan was for him to secure the point and then return to the peloton but with sky-high confidence at the moment, Teklehaimanot chose to push on in the breakaway for the day.
With not many sprinters stages in this year’s Tour, the teams of the fast men did not want to risk their chance and kept the break on a short leash.
After hovering just above the two-minute mark for most of the day, the break eventually had to give in to the peloton with 10km to go. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Tyler Farrar were both up for the mass sprint as they went shoulder to shoulder with the World Tour sprint trains.
Farrar was looking really good until he lost some momentum when narrowly avoiding a touch wheels with Greipel at 200m to go. The American was able to hold on for seventh though while his SA teammate Janse van Rensburg finished with good speed on the outside to collect eighth as well for the African team.
Having two riders in the top 10 and with Serge Pauwels in 29th, results were good enough to see MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung winning the best team for the stage. In the overall standings MTN-Qhubeka retain 14th spot, 13:33 behind BMC Racing.
Said Teklehaimanot: ‘It was a great moment to start in the jersey this morning. We obviously had a plan with the early categorised climb today so that’s why our team was in front to keep things under control before the start. It was good though that I could get away early and then won the point.
‘I wanted to keep going and wasn’t worried about saving power for the next weeks because I’m feeling strong. Every day we can spend in the jersey helps our 5000 bikes campaign so I will work for it each stage.
Saturday’s eighth stage is a 181.5km ride from Rennes to Mur-de-Bretagne. It’s an undulating ride with a stiff two-kilometre climb to the finish and the overall contenders are going to have to decide between making up time on the stage or saving themselves for the team trial on Sunday.
Fascinating Stage Seven data as supplied by Dimension Data
The start of the stage was in lovely Livarot (first time stage town), with only 2 600 residents it’s the smallest starting village on this year’s route. From Livarot the riders travelled to the race finish in Fougères (3rd time stage town).
10 – the number of Tour de France editions François Lemarchand, teammate to Greg LeMond, participated in between 1985 and 1996. Today’s stage started in his home town.
190.5 km – the length of the course; with only one climb early in the stage, at km 12.5, the stage favoured sprinters.
262 m – the highest elevation on the stage at Carrouges; 88.5 km into the stage.
1 134.3 km – today riders crossed the 1 000 km mark, they are officially a third of the way into their 3 360km journey to Paris.
11 – the number of riders, including most recently Tony Martin (EQS), that have retired from the race.
60.47 km/h – speed of Luis Angel Mate (COF) at km 65.6 as he won the day’s intermediate sprint.
42.71 km/h – average speed on today’s stage.
00:55 – time between first and last rider.