Good morning! Early start today at the Dauphiné, and we've got a monster of a stage coming up, with more than 4000 metres of elevation gain as the race truly gets serious in the Alps.
Here was the start line in Porte de Savoie a little earlier.
The riders have already rolled out, and they're currently working their way through the neutral zone, before the stage proper begins.
This is a crucial day in the battle for the overall title. Tomorrow's final stage is hard and features some steep stuff, including the spectacularly punchy finish above Grenoble, but today's stage plays host to the the bigger mountains.
First up, after 50km or so on the flat, is the Col de la Madeleine (25.1km at 6.2%), then it's over to the lesser-known Col du Mollard (18.5km at 5.8%), and quickly on to the summit finish on the Col de la Croix de Fer (13.1km at 6.2%).
That final climb doesn't seem like much but it's sort of split in two, with a gentle opening section followed by a pretty vicious final 5km.
We're about to get underway so now's the time to catch up on yesterday's action, including a stage 6 report, the latest standings, and plenty of nice photos.
The riders reach kilometre zero, the flag is waved, and stage 7 of the Dauphiné is underway.
Appetite for the breakaway is strong. A fast start with plenty of attacks but nothing sticking in the first few kilometres.
Still fast and furious, with no breakaway forming. At least we'll be getting to the mountains nice and quickly.
Mountains classification leader and polka-dot jersey wearer Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies) gets himself into the latest move.
But that comes to nothing.
128km to go
We've got an intermediate sprint coming up in around 10km, then after that it's another 20km or so to the foot of the Madeleine, which might be judge and jury in this breakaway battle.
We finally have a move with some daylight and it contains Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Dstny), Remi Cavagna (Soudal-QuickStep), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), and Madis Mihkels (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty).
The peloton has started to calm down but not before a fresh wave of attacks, bringing another group of four into a chasing counter-attack. In there are Anthon Charmig (Uno-X), Tobias Bayer (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Reube Thompson (Groupama-FDJ), and Matteo Vercher (Total Energies).
The nascent breakaway reaches the intermediate sprint in Grignon after 29km, and it's Mihkels who's first to the line ahead of Campenaerts and Perez.
The peloton allows the four leaders to stretch their lead to nearly three minutes. That quartet is still stuck in no man's land at 45 seconds.
The gap rises to four minutes now as we approach the Madeleine.
100km to go
Nearly time for the climbing and the leading quartet have nearly five minutes on a peloton being led by Jumbo-Visma. The four chasers are in between, 90 seconds down on the front of the race.
This was the breakaway forming a little earlier.
50.7km ridden in that first hour. Whoosh.
97km to go
Anyway, we're slowing down now as the riders hit the lower slopes of the Col de la Madeleine. The breakaway quartet (Campenaerts, Cavagna, Perez, Mihkels) have a lead of 90 seconds over the four chasers (Charmig, Bayer, Thompson, Vercher) and 5:30 on the peloton.
This is what we're dealing with.
Now we're on the first HC climb of the Dauphiné, we have some fresh attacks from the peloton. TotalEnergies try to go with a duo of Pierre Latour and Mathieu Burgaudeau.
A few more - Kevin Geniets (Groupama-FDJ), James Shaw (EF Education-EasyPost) and Gianmarco Garofoli (Astana Qazaqstana) - try to go after them but to no avail.
Latour has ridden away from his teammate Burgaudeau, who's in the polka-dots, but he's only dangling just ahead of the peloton. It's classic Pierre Latour stuff.
Latour has another teammate up the road in that chase group, Vercher, who's now dropping back to help.
More attacks from the bunch now half-way up the Col de la Madeleine, as Simon Guglielmi (Arkéa Samsic) goes, followed by Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) and Eduardo Sepulveda (Lotto-Dstny).
Mihkels is dropped from the lead group.
Ineos Grenadiers take it up in the peloton
The gap to the leaders had gone back out above five minutes but it's coming down again now as the team of Egan Bernal, Dani Martinez, and Carlos Rodriguez look to impose themselves on the stage.
Former yellow jersey Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates) is dropped as the peloton thins under this Ineos pressure.
Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) is among those dropped now. He already lost a heap of time on stage 5. More quality riders like David De La Cruz (Astana) and the AG2R duo of Nans Peters and Franck Bonnamour can't keep up either, which is indicative of the pace Ineos are setting.
Vercher has dropped away, having helped Latour on his way. The Frenchman came in for a bit of light teasing earlier on this live blog but he has closed to within 2:20 of the head of the race.
Mihkels has been dropped from the chase group as well and he'll be back in the bunch shortly.
Up front, Cavagna is distanced by Campenaerts and Perez.
And now Perez is distanced, so Campenaerts is alone in the lead on the upper slopes of the Madeleine.
Latour has made his way across to the chase group, with Charmig and Bayer. Thompson has been dropped from that group.
Top of the Madeleine - 72km to go
Campenaerts leads solo over the Col de la Madeleine on stage 7 of the Dauphiné. Impressively, he has opened a gap of one minute on those upper slopes, with Perez his closest chaser.
The peloton are only 2:30 back from Campenaerts as they head over the top. Ineos took it up on the Madeleine and thinned the bunch while also easting into the break's advantage. The stage winner will surely come from the GC group today.
A long descent now and we could see some further reshuffles on the way down.
For those just joining, I'll try to recap
After a fast start, we had a four-man breakaway - Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Dstny), Remi Cavagna (Soudal-QuickStep), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), and Madis Mihkels (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) - followed by a four-man chase group - Anthon Charmig (Uno-X), Tobias Bayer (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Reuben Thompson (Groupama-FDJ), and Matteo Vercher (TotalEnergies) - and then the peloton.
On the Col de la Madeleine, Campenaerts dropped Mihkels, then Cavagna, then Perez to lead solo over the top by a minute over Perez. Cavagna, Mihkels, Thompson and Vercher then fell behind Charmig and Bayer, who were later joined by Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies), who attacked from the bunch and used Vercher to get across.
Latour made his move shortly before Ineos came forward to set a high pace, thinning the bunch and reducing the gap to the breakaway to just 2:30.
KOM points at Col de la Madeleine
1. Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Dstny), 15 pts
2. Anthony Perez (Cofidis), 12 pts
3. Pierre Latour (Total Energies), 10 pts
4. Anthon Charmig (Uno X), 8 pts
5. Tobias Bayer (Alpecin Deceuninck), 6 pts
6. Rémi Cavagna (Soudal Quick-Step), 5 pts
7. Reuben Thompson (Groupama-FDJ), 4 pts
8. Omar Fraile (Ineos Grenadiers), 3 pts
9. Jonathan Castroviejo (Ineos Grenadiers), 2 pts
10. Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers), 1 pt
Latour is now in the virtual lead of the mountains classification, but he has been dropped by Charmig and Bayer on this descent.
Situation as it stands
- Perez at 1:05
- Charmig and Bayer at 1:15
- Latour at 1:35
- Thompson and Cavagna at 2:00
- Peloton at 2:25
We're coming to the bottom of the descent and Campenaerts has lost a little of his lead but is still 50 seconds out in front of Perez. Charmig and Bayer are at 1:10, while Thompson and Cavagna are at 1:50. Latour has dropped through the groups.
Latour is back in the peloton. We were right all along - this is the most Pierre Latour thing ever.
This was Ineos on the Madeleine a little earlier
On the valley road that leads towards our final climbs, Campenaerts is powering away from the rest. Perez is now back with Charmig and Bayer and they're 90 seconds down on our solo leader.
Pierre Latour, I kid you not, has gone on the attack again. He's with teammate Alexis Vuillermoz and Arkea-Samsic's Simon Gugliemi in a trio just ahead of the bunch.
37.5km to go
The Col du Mollard begins. Campenaerts hits it with a lead of two minutes over Perez, Charmig, and Bayer.
The Latour group is rather predictably caught by the peloton, which is 3:30 down on Campenaerts as it hits the Mollard.
Jumbo-Visma are back on the nose of the peloton, taking back over from Ineos who dictated on the Madeleine.
35km to go
Thompson is caught by the peloton, so we have a simpler situation now on the Col du Mollard...
- Campenaerts leads solo
- Perez, Charmig, Bayer are at 1:50
- Peloton is at 3 minutes
- Gruppetto (inc Laporte, Bjerg, Burgaudeau) is at 11 minutes
Here's our lone leader on the mountain
More mountain goodness
Campenaerts is tapping it out at his own tempo. He's losing time but he's still a healthy 1:30 up on the three chasers, but the peloton is closing in to two minutes now.
30km to go
10km to to the top of the Col du Mollard and Campenaerts will move into the lead of the mountains classification if he can stay out front by the summit. He has 1:25 in hand.
Here's what we're dealing with. The climb does get much gentler for a few kilometres nearer the top.
Four Jumbo-Visma riders on the front of the bunch: Van Hooydonck, Van Baarle, Valter, Vingegaard. It looks like they have Benoot further down the group.
In the middle chase group, Charmig has ridden clear of Bayer and Perez.
Perez has been caught by the peloton, who are about to reel in Bayer as well. So now we have just two men in front of the bunch - Charamig 30 seconds ahead and Campenaerts 1:45 ahead.
Jumbo-Visma are making inroads now, closing to 90 seconds behind Campenaerts. They're on the heels of Charmig now. The bunch is reduced but still sizeable with 26km remaining.
25.3km to go
Charmig is caught. It's Campenaerts vs the bunch.
Campenaerts is holding steady on these gentle upper slopes of the Mollard. These gradients will suit his style but also the bunch is only riding at a steady holding tempo, with no one really dropping away.
Ineos came to the fore on the Madeleine but have been happy to take a back seat on the Mollard.
Campenaerts is smiling to the TV cameras as he heads into the final 1300 metres of the climb. He still has a minute in hand and should be good for that polka-dot jersey.
Van Hooydonck pulls off the Jumbo-Visma train a kilometre shy of the summit. Over to Van Baarle.
Van Baarle lifts the pace a little. Some grimaces in the bunch and Campenaerts' lead drops to 30 seconds.
But Campenaerts will hold on to lead the race over the top. He rises from the saddle, raises his arms, and celebrates like it's the finish line.
Top of the Col du Mollard - 20km to go
Campaerts leads the race over the penultimate climb, 20 seconds ahead of a reduced peloton where a couple of QuickSteppers burst forward at the summit but Jumbo take back control for the descent.
We only have just over 5km of descending here, before we hit our final climb, the Croix de Fer.
Campenaerts is cruising downhill, still 15 seconds ahead.
Campenaerts comes off the descent and he's going to start the Croix de Fer alone in the lead.
Here's what the climb looks like - easy, then hard.
12.3km to go
Campenaerts is caught and that's his day done. He'll be in the polka-dot jersey tomorrow after taking maximum points across the two HC climbs today.
Van Baarle is setting the pace on the lower slopes of the climb. Very few getting dropped yet but this climb is gentle for its first half.
Benoot has moved up through the bunch and is now in between Van Baarle and Valter in this Jumbo train leading Vingegaard up this climb.
Vingegaard has actually been detached from his train, with the likes of Ben O'Connor (AG2R) and Richard Carapaz (EF) in between.
6.8km to go and we're still on the gentle section of this climb, so no change in the pace or situation, but the race should finally light up on the steep stuff in the last 5km.
6.5km to go
Van Baarle is done. Benoot takes it up!
Benoot has raised the pace considerably and now we're getting some damage!
Valter takes it up now and gaps the rest! Wow
Valter almost accidentally attacked there. He was alone out front for a moment. Vingegaard is now on the wheel and barely anyone can follow!
Only Yates can follow as O'Connor has to pull out of the line.
Vingegaard attacks! 5.3km from the top
He's away. No doubt. Vingegaard, as expected, is going to cruise to the stage win and increase his overall lead. Still 5km from the top but this already looks and feels decisive.
Yates is alone as Vingegaard's closest pursuer.
Vingegaard takes a look over his shoulder as he rounds a haripin. Yates is chasing at 15 seconds.
O'Connor and Carapaz are in a sizeable chase group at 35 seconds.
O'Connor now looks to rip that chase group open.
3.5km to go and Vingegaard has opened to 22 seconds on Yates and 40 on the O'Connor group.
Yates closes back in to 16 seconds. O'Connor slips to 52 seconds.
And now the clock lurches out the other way, showing Yates at 30 seconds down.
Jai Hindley has set off from the chase group, followed now by O'Connor and Martinez.
O'Connor drops Martinez as he chases his compatriot Hindley. But they're over a minute behind VIngegaard.
1km to go
Final kilometre for Vingegaard, who has this in the bag.
O'Connor can't quite get across to Hindley.
O'Connor should hold on to second place if he can keep up this pace, but Yates and Hindley only started 16 and 27 seconds behind him, respectively.
Vingegaard comes towards the line... he kisses his first, then his hands, and spreads his arms as he crosses the line.
Yates is next home, at 43 seconds.
Hindley takes third place at 55 seconds.
O'Connor finishes at 1:05. He'll lose a couple of places.
Max Poole (DSM) then leads home a bigger group a few seconds later with Martinez and Carapaz among others.
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