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Wout Van Aert won an explosive stage seven of the Tour de France to Lavaur as Adam Yates hung on to the yellow jersey amid powerful crosswinds. (Fiona Hanson/PA)

Wout Van Aert won an explosive stage seven of the Tour de France to Lavaur as Adam Yates hung on to the yellow jersey amid powerful crosswinds. (Fiona Hanson/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

Wout Van Aert won an explosive stage seven of the Tour de France to Lavaur as Adam Yates hung on to the yellow jersey amid powerful crosswinds. (Fiona Hanson/PA)

Wout Van Aert won an explosive stage seven of the Tour de France to Lavaur as Adam Yates hung on to the yellow jersey amid powerful crosswinds.

Jumbo-Visma's Van Aert collected his second stage win of the Tour as the winds ripped through the peloton in the final hour of racing, with Tadej Pogacar, Mikel Landa, Richie Porte and Richard Carapaz among the overall contenders to lose 80 seconds in the splits.

The 168km stage was raced at a ferocious pace as Peter Sagan's Bora-Hansgrohe's team put the hammer down as soon as they left Millau, dropping the sprinters to enable the former world champion to seize the points leader's green jersey back from Irishman Sam Bennett.

Van Aert's assignment was to look after team-mates Primoz Roglic and Tom Dumoulin, with Roglic only three seconds off Yates in second place, but when he found himself near the front in the final metres he was able to overhaul Edvald Boasson Hagen and follow up his stage-five victory.

"I'm really proud of it," Van Aert said. "It was straight from the gun really hard. It was a very impressive stage from Bora-Hansgrohe, they were flat out from the first kilometre and made sure a lot of the sprinters were dropped.

"It was always hectic because everyone feared the crosswinds. At the end we saw it was worth it to put a lot of energy into the positioning. I was with Primoz the whole day in the front so it was a good day for the team. A lot of the GC favourites lost time and I could finish it off as well."

Bennett finished a tough day empty handed, part of a group that finished more than 10 minutes down on the road.

Belfast Telegraph