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Tour de France Stage 7: Steve Cummings solos to win (+ videos)

Dimension Data rider takes first Pyrenean stage with trademark attack; Adam Yates injured as flamme rouge gantry collapses

Steve Cummings has won a stage of the Tour de France for the second year running, heading off on his own ahead of the Col d'Aspin with the type of attack that the Wirral-born cyclist has made his trademark.

The Dimension Data rider crossed the line at Lac de Payolle more than a minute ahead of his closest pursuer, Darryl Impey of Orica-BikeExchange, who edged out Dani Navarro of Cofidis to take second place.

Moments later, there was drama a kilometre back as the inflatable gantry that carries the flamme rouge collapsed.

Impey's team mate Adam Yates, who had got off the front of the group containing overall favourites Chris Froome of Sky and Movistar's Nairo Quintana, had been passing underneath at the time, and finished the stage with blood coming from a cut on his chin.

Potential time gaps in that group were immediately neutralised, and Froome and Geraint Thomas, among others, werein relaxed conversation with their Movistar rivals as they approached the line.

Yates, however, was belatedly given the 7-second advantage he had as he passed under the flamme rouge after an appeal by his team, and will ride tomorrow in the white jersey of best young rider, and also rises to second overall.

Greg Van Avermaet retains the yellow jersey, with the BMC Racing rider getting into a 29-man break that also included riders such as Trek-Segafredo's Fabian Cancellara and 2014 Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali, who began the day around 10 minutes behind the men expected to contest the overall.

With a little under 40km of the 163km stage from L'Isle Jourdain remaining, three riders - Impey, Navarro, and Cannondale-Drapac's Matti Breschel - attacked from the break, Cummings soon setting off in pursuit of them and catching them before making his stage-winning move just minutes later.

With Mark Cavendish taking three sprints in the opening six days of the race, Dimension Data can reflect on a phenomenal opening week to only their second participation in the Tour de France, with their stage tally now standing at four in seven.

Afterwards, Cummings said: “Of all my victories, I think it's the best one. The Tour is the Tour, it's special. I didn't need to win a stage this year.

"I had a different condition from last year as I started the Tour riding for Mark [Cavendish] who is such a winner and an inspiration. It's brilliant, it's fantastic.

"I wasn't confident in that group with Nibali and Navarro. Before, I had to play it strategically with the teams who had the numbers, like Cofidis and Cannondale with three riders, Astana with two… I don't know why Navarro killed himself on the flat because he's such a good climber but when he rode away with one Cannondale (Breschel) and Chavanel's team-mate (Duchesne) it was perfect for me to go with them.

"Then I avoided Nibali to come across. It was a good strategy, I think! But I was cooking on the climb [to Col d'Aspin]. I thought Nibali would come back so I wondered if I should wait for him and try to outsprint him.

"At the difference of my stage win at the Dauphiné where I had good sensations all the way, I felt horrible uphill today. I was worried that Nibali would pass me like Marco Pantani and I wouldn't be able to hold his wheel.

"But I committed to my decision to ride my tempo till the end. Last year's win at Mende was a dream. For a while after that stage victory, I questioned myself: what after that? I was lost for a month. When I eventually realised what I had achieved, I've wanted to do it again. But I needed confidence. I'm not the most confident person. I don't like to watch the video of Mende but I have to do it when I don't feel well to realise that I can do that.

"I also have a team behind me with calm people who believe in the process. My training is always the same. My weight is always the same. I just need luck and I know that I can win, I just don't know when.

Controversially omitted for the Team GB squad for the road race at Rio, Cummings added: "I haven't wanted to prove anything with regards to my non-selection for the Olympic Games. After the disappointment, I passed to the next chapter. The Tour de France is the biggest show. It's the biggest race on earth. It's bigger for a cyclist than the Olympics.”

Here is the on-board footage of today's stage.

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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