The Tour de France heads into the mountains today for the first time in 2022 with a summit finish at La Planche des Belles Filles on the cards in stage seven.
It appears to be perfectly poised for Tadej Pogacar (7/4 – Stage 7 outright) to steal the show after his fine ride and fantastic sprint finish to win Thursday’s stage six.
The defending champion started his attack at the top of the short climb into Longwy, opening up a gap to the peloton before going on to finish ahead of Michael Matthews and David Gaudu, while British Tour debutant Tom Pidcock (9/1 – Young Rider Classification) came home in fourth.
Pogacar (1/4 – Tour de France outright), who also had a time bonus applied, will begin Friday’s 176.6km stage with a four-second lead overall from American Neilson Powless.
After his stage six success, Pogacar said: “I believe in myself, the cobbles went well yesterday, today too, but tomorrow will be the biggest test of the Tour so far.
“My family will be there and my girlfriend will be waiting for me, so I can’t wait.”
Belgium’s Wout van Aert may have lost the yellow jersey after struggling in the final 15km on Thursday, but he will start Friday with the green sprint points jersey.
Van Aert, who has a stage win and three second places under his belt on the 2022 Tour, added: “I wanted to remember my last day in yellow.
“It was an intense day, but I’m happy to change jersey.”