La Vuelta 2023: Geoffrey Soupe wins by beard’s whisker

The course of this year’s Vuelta is very much a constant up and down; not two days consecutively that the race stays in the mountains or offers a flat stage. Exemplary for this planning was stage 7 over 200,1 kilometres from Utiel to Oliva. For a change, there was no climb for points included in this stage, only one intermediate sprint some 34 kilometres before the finish.

La Vuelta 2023 Stage 7 Report

For the second time only the little winemaking town of Utiel near Valencia was part of La Vuelta. From here, the course went on a continuous descent: from around 700m above sea level, this stage climbed down to 10m in Oliva, near the Mediterranean Sea, which made its debut in this race.

From the start proper, two riders immediately broke away: José Herrada (Cofidis) and Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH) and had a gap of 11 seconds at kilometre 2. Their lead quickly rose to more than 2 minutes 30 seconds after only 12 kilometres. The main peloton just was not interested in chasing these two this early. The speed was high: 40,5 kilometres were covered in the first hour of racing today. However, there remained 160 Kilometres and fate played a part in the gap melting. Okamika had a puncture and fairly his colleague Herrada waited for him. This cost them vital seconds. The gap afterwards was only 1 minute and 11 seconds.

The bigger talking point was the crash in which three riders from Ineos Grenadiers were involved, among them Gerraint Thomas, winner of the Tour de France 2018. He had to stop briefly to receive treatment but was able to continue.

At the front, the escaping duo had a 1:34 gap at the half-time of the race. During the first three hours of the race, they managed to maintain an average speed of 39,7 kilometres an hour.

However, once they reached the coastline, the gap blew away and Herrada was caught with 67 kilometres remaining. Okamika was still 35 seconds ahead and he even managed to increase his advantage. Yet, this joy was short-lived as 40 kilometres before the finish-line his adventure was over. The peloton prepared for the intermediate sprint of the day.

Result of the intermediate sprint

1. K. Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 20pts, 6″
2. M. van den Berg (EF Education-EasyPost) 17pts, 4″
3. J. Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 15pts, 2″
4. F. Fisher-Black (UAE Team Emirates) 13pts
5. E. Planckaert (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 10ts

Groves thus increased his lead in the points ranking. Ahead of the sprint, his tally stood at 142 points; 80 clear of his nearest contender, Andrea Vendrame.

At the front Ineos-Grenadiers set the pace and stretched the peloton. Another crash disturbed the preparations only a little. Yesterday’s stage Sepp Kuss was involved but got up quickly and was unscathed. This was not the last crash as 5 kilometres before the end, another rider went down. This time at high speed but Thymen Arensman was able to continue.

It disrupted the preparations for Ineos Grenadiers and Geoffrey Soupe of Total Energies benefitted and recorded the biggest success in his career.

The Top Ten of Stage 7

1. G. Soupe (Total Energies) 04h 56′ 29″
2. O. Sanabria (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) +00′ 00″
3. E. Theuns (Lidl-Trek) +00′ 00″
4. J. Molano (UAE Team Emirates) +00′ 00″
5. K. Groves (Alpencin-Deceunick) +00′ 00″
6. M. v.d. Berg (EF Education First – Easypost) +00′ 00″
7. D. Lopez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) +Caja Rural-Seguros RGA)
8. H. Page (Intermarché – Circus – Wanty) +00′ 00″
9. F. Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) +00′ 00″
10. M. Govekar (Bahrain Victorious) +00′ 00″

The Overall Classification after Stage 7

1. L. Martinez (Groupama – FDJ) 26h 37′ 04″
2. S. Kupp (Jumbo-Visma) +00′ 08″
3. M. Soler (UAE Team Emirates) +00′ 51″
4. W. Poels (Bahrain Victorious) +01’41”
5. S. Cras (Total Energies) +01’48”
6. M. Landa (Bahrain Victorious) +01’58”
7. D. de la Cruz (Astana) +02’23”
8. J. Cepeda (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) +02’30”
9. R. Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) +02’47”
10. J. Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +02’50”

No changes in the Red Jersey classification as Lenny Martinez keeps the Red Jersey as the overall leader. He is the youngest-ever rider on any of the three grand tours to wear the leader’s jersey.

The Green Jersey Rankings after Stage 7

1. K. Groves (Alepcin-Deceneunick) 158pts
2. A. Vendrame (AG2R Citroen Team) 66pts
3. Geoffrey Soupe (Total Energies) 61pts
4. M. van den Berg (EF Education-EasyPost) 57pts
5. E. Theuns (Lidl-Trek) 55pts
6. M. Soler (UAE Team Emirates) 52pts
7. J. S. Molano (UAE Team Emirates) 48pts
8. O. Sanabria (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) 47pts
9. R. Evenpoel (Soudal Quick-Step) 45pts
10. A. Kron (Lotto-DSTNY) 45pts

The stage winner Geoffrey Soupe made a huge jump in this classification and inherited third place.

Subscribe to Punditfeed on Google News for all the latest updates from the world of sports!