More Tour tears as Matej Mohorič out-thinks rivals so Slovenia still win on turbulent stage seven

Mohorič takes the win as Tour de France peloton test his two compatriots on longest stage

Matej Mohorič
(Image credit: Getty)

How many more tears are we going to see this Tour de France?

Sure, the July heat has only just started to hit the French Grand Tour, the overcast weather in Brittany not enough to dampen the return of crowds to the roadside, so the amount of facial precipitation from the 2021 stage winners has been the only wash-out so far.

The latest to come out on top during this thrilling first week was Matej Mohorič, ensuring that as Primož Roglič struggled off the back and Tadej Pogačar was forced on the defensive for the first time in his Tour career, a Slovenian still emerged victorious.

"I knew I had a good shot," Mohorič said after he'd managed to complete his set of Grand Tour wins. "Today and stage 18 were most suited to my characteristics. I also knew Van der Poel was there to keep the jersey. 

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"I got myself in the first group, it was hard because I was the only one from my team in the group. I just focused on the KOM points, so I sprinted for the points and when I got the gap with Brent Van Moer (Lotto-Soudal) we continued. Step-by-step we came closer to the finish line, I kept focusing on the KOM, and still had some energy in my legs. With 1km to go, I realised I’d won a stage in the Tour and that makes me very proud."

Mohorič now has the polka dot jersey too and plans to defend it in the Alps this coming weekend, before seeing where he sits in that classification after that. The jersey gives Bahrain-Victorious much-needed direction after their GC hope Jack Haig crashed out.

The 26-year-old's Vuelta stage win in 2017 was over a distance of 207km, his 2018 Giro victory 244km, but Mohorič doesn't count today as a "long day" as they didn't do more than six hours on the bike. 

Matej Mohorič

(Image credit: Getty)

"I think cycling needs some long stages to honour the history of the sport but short stages make it exciting for the spectators. It was the fight for the jersey and the stage win, it was full gas," he said of whether he wishes all stages were as long as todays.

Mohorič then explains that he doesn't rely on his physical attributes to win bike races, in the way his compatriots Roglič and Pogačar do, but that he prefers the tactical side to racing.

"Roglič and Pogačar are different climbers, and I don’t think I can be one of them, I'm too heavy for that and not powerful enough," he said.

"As a junior, I don’t think I was the strongest in races, I was more tactically out-thinking the competition. [Today] I anticipated the other guys in the final, with the KOM jersey being up for grabs I tried to go early and physically I’m good at keeping up. I’m not excellent at short, brutal climbs.

"If you’re clever, you can anticipate [what's going to happen], sometimes it works out sometimes it doesn’t. I try to save energy, I always know how many more kilometres there are to ride."

Mohorič was known as one of the biggest proponents of the super tuck position before it was banned in April, but does he miss it?

"The [banning of] super tuck is not a huge problem because it's also not the most comfortable position you can take on the descent," he explains.

"It's a little bit complicated because in the long breakaways I'm trying to rest the muscles on my back, it's hard to not be allowed to use that position.

"It's not just more aero, it also helps you rest your upper body. So now we have to keep our hands on the handlebars, it's a little bit more complicated. Sometimes my back hurts sometimes, but that's just how it is. I play by the rules."

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.