Cummings storms to victory in chaotic finish
Briton Stephen Cummings powered away on the Col d'Aspin to claim a second career Tour de France stage win as GC contender Thibaut Pinot cracked in a seventh stage that ended in chaos yesterday.
South African Daryl Impey (Orica-Bike Exchange) was second and Spain's Dani Navarri (Cofidis) took third place 1:05 behind Cummings.
As Team Dimension Data rider Cummings celebrated his stunning solo win, back down the road the inflatable arch marking 1km to go deflated and slowed down the bunch, even sending fellow Briton Adam Yates crashing.
Belgian Greg Van Avermaet retained the overall leader's yellow jersey.
Ireland's Dan Martin finished in 15th on the stage to move up one place to ninth in the overall standings while Sam Bennett finished in 188th. Cummings, who last year won in Mende, jumped away from the day's breakaway and held off 2014 Tour champion Vincenzo Nibali on the Col d'Aspin, the first big climb this year, before descending safely to the Lac de Payolle to give his African-based team their fourth stage win this year.
Mark Cavendish had already won three sprints and Cummings showed again that Dimension Data could also play a role in the mountains as the Tour entered the Pyrenees.
"Of all my victories, I think it's the best one. The Tour is the Tour, it's special," Cummings said. Cummings was part of a 29-man breakaway that split into several groups with about 30km left. He attacked with 27km remaining and never looked back.
Van Avermaet, who managed to be in the day's break, took fifth place, over a minute ahead of the top favourites to extend his lead to 6:36 over France's Julian Alaphilippe and 6:38 over Spain's Alejandro Valverde.