Steve Cummings stormed to the second Tour de France stage win of his career on a contrasting day for British riders in the Pyrenees yesterday.
While Cummings shrugged off his rivals up the imposing Col d’Aspin to claim victory by more than a minute, Adam Yates required four stitches after a freak collision with the flamme rouge one kilometre from the finish of stage seven.
The giant inflatable banner collapsed on top of the Briton just as he was mounting a late push, resulting in a spectacular crash, but it is unlikely to affect his standing as organisers are set to record times instead from the 3km mark.
Yates said: “I cut my shoulder and my wrists and my knee is pretty banged up, so I’m devastated. I hit something then the next thing I know I’m on the floor. There’s not much you can do about it but it’s a good job it’s not a sprint stage when we’re going 70 or 80kmh.”
Dimension Data rider Cummings produced a spectacular solo performance ahead of Daryl Impey, who out-sprinted Daniel Navarro to take second place. Belgium’s Greg Van Avermaet extended his overall race lead to six minutes and 36 seconds over Julian Alaphilippe after sprinting clear of the peloton.
Cummings, a team-mate of Mark Cavendish who has already won three stages this year, said: “It’s fantastic to race with Mark, such a legend.
“I managed to give it everything to the top of the Aspin and I knew the race had really finished before I got to there.
“Success breeds success and Cav’s a winner. There’s a really good atmosphere in the team – we’re all winners and we know that anyone in the team is capable of winning stages.”