Stage 7 The Top Of The Tour

Postby SamultheCamul on Sat 24/Jul/10 10:56am


Photo - Daniel Carruthers

Stage 7 today took us 121km from Xihaizhen to Mole Town. It was a predominately uphill stage that contained a Cat 2 climb early on at 21km, a HC climb at 107km up to a height of 3869m (the highest point of the tour) and then a fast decent down into the tiny Mole town. Having secured every jersey on offer the previous day, the Tabriz Petrochemical Team of Iran were content to set a brisk but steady tempo on the front today that kept the peleton under control for the first 100km over the early climb and up to the base of the days major mountain pass.

Despite being troubled by a sore stomach overnight, I rolled out from Xihaizhen feeling the best I had all tour. With new found confidence I was eager to get involved in the stage and placed myself in several early breakaways. Unfortunately it was was hard going up the road and no breakaway was able to gain much of an advantage over the Iranian lead peleton so after a few attempts I soon returned to the shelter of the peleton.

With over 80km clocked up and nearing the major climb riders began jostling for the prime positions at the front of the bunch. Several times I worked my way up to the front of the field only to be swamped by riders as we hit a downhill section or after a lull of pace. Once we were on the climb however the bunch quickly spread out and the steep gradient of the 8km climb forced big gaps to open up in the field. I settled into a good rhythm and found myself in the second bunch on the road, withteam mate Eric Drower for company. The pace was high but this also meant the climb passed relatively quickly and soon we were flying down the fast downhill into Mole with the 20, 10 and 5km to go signs passing quickly. Our bunch eventually crossed the line around 2min down on the front. Joe had a great climb to finish at the front of the race lead home by Shpilevskiy of Russia, while James and Ian cruised up the climb in the gruppetto and were about 6minutes back.

Photo - Daniel Carruthers

Tomorrow is the penultimate stage, a 150km trip from Qilian to Qingshizui. It features an early Cat 3 climb followed by another HC climb to an altitude of 3767m at the 95km mark in a stage profile that looks like one large climb. With the final stage beinga flat criterium this is the last chance for the gc contenders to make an impact on the general classification and so I am expecting a very difficult day.

For full results check out cyclingnews, cyclingnewsasia or the tour website.

Until next time, thanks for reading.


Sergey Kuzmin
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Original Published: 10:52am Saturday, 24th July 2010 - NZST
Member for: 16 years 1 month

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