Mohoric takes stage as Roche stays in third
Irish rider finishes alongside general classification leaders in peloton
Matej Mohoric celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the seventh stage of “La Vuelta” in Cuenca. Photograph: Getty Images
The 22-year-old UAE Team Emirates rider saw off the challenge of a 14-man breakaway heading into the finish at Cuenca to cross 16 seconds ahead of Poland’s Pawel Poljanski as the Bora-Hansgrohe racer ended runner-up for the second consecutive day.
Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) was beaten on the line in third, with Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) having to settle for fourth. Jetse Bol was the biggest mover in the general classification standings, as the Manzana Postobon rider moved up 25 places into seventh as the peloton, which included Froome, finished over eight-and-a-half-minutes off the pace.
Ireland’s Nicolas Roche was also in the main peloton and remains in third place overall, 13 seconds down on Froome.
The 207-kilometre stage, which started from Lliria, featured a treble of category three climbs, with the breakaway taking shape from around 10kms as the riders battled against crosswinds. However, it was Mohoric who ultimately lasted the distance for the climb and descent of Alto del Castillo before then pulling clear as he closed in on Cuenca.
Froome, who is aiming to become just the third man to win the Vuelta and Tour de France in the same year, kept his 11-second lead over Orica-Scott rider Estaban Chaves.
Saturday’s eighth stage will run from Hellin to Xorret de Cat, which includes a category one climb towards the finish of the 199.5km route.
“It was a relatively in control day for us, so another good day to tick off now and start thinking about tomorrow,” Froome said afterwards. “Tomorrow has a really tough final, there will be ramps of over 18 per cent on the climb before we descend to the finish, it’s definitely going to be a GC battle.”