In a surprise finish, the Frenchman Geoffrey Soupe (TotalEnergies) beat the Venezuelan Orluis Aular (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) at the last second and won the seventh stage of the Vuelta a España 2023, disputed over 200.8 kilometers between the Valencian towns of Utiel and Oliva.
The 35-year-old French rider who achieved his first World Tour victory, beat the Venezuelan Orluis Aular (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and the Belgian Edward Theuns (Lidl-Trek), third on the podium; while the Colombian Juan Sebastián Molano (UAE Team Emirates) had to settle for fourth place.
Nothing changed in the general classification, the young Frenchman Lenny Martínez (Groupama-FDJ) kept the red jersey in the Spanish round. The American Sepp Kuss (Jumbo Visma) remained in second place and the Spanish Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) closed the podium.
The escape of the day was encouraged by the Spaniards José Herrada (Cofidis) and Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH), who joined forces, however, the two did not get much advantage and with 41 kilometers to go they were wrapped up by the peloton.
In the last kilometers the tension returned to the peloton. First, a small heap 10 kilometers from the finish line and, already in the streets of Oliva, there is another spectacular fall 5 kilometers from the finish line, in which some 15 cyclists fell to the ground, with Thymen Arensman (INEOS Grenadiers) as the more affected because he had to be evacuated by ambulance, leaving his team without an important man, a loss that adds to that of Laurens de Plus in the initial time trial.
Most of the specialists considered this Friday segment as a transition stage after the very hard day that the cyclists of La Vuelta a España 2023 lived through in the Sierra de Javalambre. For this reason, the 200 kilometers between Utiel and Oliva, descending towards the Valencian coast to cross it heading south in a journey without difficulties, turned out to be a pleasant walk for the vast majority of the peloton, proof of this, the delay that the race accumulated in its first part.
This Saturday the eighth stage of the 78th edition of the Spanish round will be held between Dénia and Alto de Xorret de Catí, on a 165-kilometre route with mountainous terrain.
Classification Stage 7
1. Geffrey Soupe (TotalEnergies) 4h56’29”
2. Orluis Aular (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) m.t.
3. Edward Theuns (Lidl-Trek) m.t.
4. Juan Sebastián Molano (UAE Team Emirates) m.t.
5. Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) m.t.
6. Maarijn van den Berg (EF Education-EasyPost) m.t.
7. David González (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) m.t.
8. Hugo Page (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) m.t.
9. Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) m.t.
10. Matevz Govekar (Bahrain-Victorious) m.t.
1. Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ) 21h40’35”
2. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) +08”
3. Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) +51”
4. Wout Poels (Bahrain-Victorious) +01’41”
5. Steff Cras (TotalEnergies) +01’48”
6. Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) +01’58”
7. Jefferson Cepeda (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) +02’06”
8. David de la Cruz (Astana) +02’23”
9. Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) +02’47”
10. Enric Mas (Movistar Team) +02’50”