A sprint finale as hot and fierce as the sun beating down over the peloton saw Sam Welsford get up for a 13th place finish in Bordeaux after a committed job by the team in the finale.
With two tough mountain stages behind them, the sprinters would have their chance to go for a result once again over the flatter terrain on offer for stage seven. It was a fairly straightforward stage to begin with with a lone breakaway rider going clear, but with around 50 kilometres to go two more riders bridged across and then pushed on. The increase in gap, alongside the slight potential danger of crosswinds, saw a more nervous peloton with the team taking up a good position at the front; to protect GC finisher Romain Bardet and sprint finisher Sam Welsford.
Kevin Vermaerke lent his legs to the chase, with the gap still roughly one minute at around 18 kilometres to go, and the break was eventually caught on the run-in. It was fast amongst the front of the peloton with the “washing machine effect” in full force as riders and teams battle to be at the front. John Degenkolb did a good job to position Welsford near the front, before Eekhoff and Edmondson helped bring him back towards the front once more with around one kilometre to go. Welsford gave it his best but he was bumped into the wind a bit and had to fight back into the wheels spending energy, and combined with a tough couple of days and the searing heat, he couldn’t fully contest for a top result – taking 13th on the day.