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This weekend, the UCI World Tour FDJ cycling team will be at the start of the Belgian Classics opening weekend with, on Saturday 24 the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and on Sunday 25 Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. Two slightly different line-ups to support the French Champion Arnaud Démare:
Frédéric Guesdon, FDJ sports director for the Belgian weekend: “For those two races, Arnaud Démare will be our natural leader. We built a team around him to support him and make sure he is not isolated in the finish, like it happened sometimes before. That being said, we noticed those last years that the riders tend to reveal themselves earlier and earlier on the Classics. It means we will have to be present at the front and this could be the role of riders like Ignatas Konovalovas or Olivier Le Gac. While being a nice option if anything happens to Arnaud, Marc Sarreau will be back in the train for Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, the more suitable to a sprint finish. Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is usually more open, it might enable another guy to have his own chance”.
A dream 4th stage win for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka at 2016 Le Tour de France
Steve Cummings won stage 7 of the Tour de France in typical Steve Cummings fashion, attacking from the original break of the day, to win solo in Lac de Payolle. Daryl Impey (Orica-BikeExchange) made it an even better day for African cycling as the South African finished in 2nd place. Daniel Navarro (Cofidis) was 3rd.
The 7th stage got off to a fast start with Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) attacking from kilometer zero. 10 other riders joined the Green Jersey contenders but the peloton weren’t content on letting Sagan and Cavendish get away. As soon as their group was caught, the counter attacks started and Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were fully switched on as Edvald Boasson Hagen made a new break with 3 others. Once again, a few kilometers down the road this break was also caught. The third escape would be the defining move of the day and 29 riders rode clear after 40km of racing, including Cummings.
Due to the constant attacking, nearly 50km were covered in the first hour and so when the break went clear, the peloton sat up for moment to regain composure which allowed the break to go 5 minutes clear. There were some big names in the escape group, with the yellow jersey race leader, Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing) also present. With the stage ending after an ascent of the Col d’Aspin, the climbers in the breakaway like Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Navarro were definitely the favourites for the stage.