Vuelta A España 2023: Geoffrey Soupe Defies Odds in Chaotic Stage 7 Win

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reviewed by Rory McAllister
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Geoffrey Soupe celebrates his victory on Stage 7 of the 2023 Vuelta a Espana by popping a bottle of champagne.

In what could be best described as a gripping stage with unexpected twists, Stage 7 of the Vuelta A España 2023 kept viewers on the edge of their seats.

The stage largely played out with a seemingly predictable nature, characterized by a somewhat relaxing peloton that suggested a bunch finish.

The presence of a block headwind kept the group together, and despite a few risks posed by crosswinds and a series of roundabouts, most of the race maintained a steady tempo.

However, the intermittent sprints, the unforeseen crashes, and the hairpin turns near the end significantly upped the stakes, turning what could have been a standard stage into an electrifying race.

The peloton races in a bunch sprint at the end of Stage 7 of the 2023 Vuelta a Espana.

The Courageous Breakaway

Among the standout storylines of the day was the courageous but ultimately ill-fated breakaway attempt by José Herrada (Cofidis) and Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH).

Their bold move took them to the outskirts of Valencia, with the duo managing to stay ahead of the peloton for a significant stretch. The spirit and determination displayed by Okamika were especially commendable.

Even after Herrada was caught by the peloton, Okamika – known as the “King of the Breakaways” – continued his lone attempt.

While he did manage to stretch his lead for a brief moment, the collective effort of the peloton ultimately reeled him in, ending the brave breakaway.

Crashes Define the Day

The stage wasn’t without its fair share of incidents. Three Ineos Grenadiers riders, including Geraint Thomas, were unfortunate victims of a crash earlier in the stage.

As the finish line neared, two more crashes within the last 10 kilometers intensified the drama.

A mass crash caused considerable disruption, affecting riders including Thymen Arensman (Ineos) and Michael Storer (Groupama-FDJ).

Arensman’s injuries were significant enough to force him to abandon the race altogether, while Kaden Groves lost his lead-out man, Robbe Ghys.

Another significant mishap almost resulted in a massive pile-up around the last corner, affecting the final sprint for many.

Riders lie in the road after a big crash on Stage 7 of the 2023 Vuelta a Espana.

“It was a long shot, a surprise, but always special”

In the whirlwind climax of the final sprint, Geoffrey Soupe identified a window of opportunity and brilliantly leveraged it. Taking an inside track through the last turn, he launched into a sprint from more than 200 meters out – undeniably audacious.

His valiant choice bore fruit, gifting him an astonishing and treasured stage win.

Geoffrey Soupe, now 35, has dedicated a substantial part of his cycling career to supporting others, with his notable assistance to Nacer Bouhanni during their tenures at FDJ and Cofidis standing out.

This marks the fourth victory in Soupe’s professional record, and intriguingly, his inaugural win beyond the borders of Gabon.

“This win feels surreal for both me and the team. Originally, I wasn’t slated to participate in the Vuelta this year, but after Alexis Vuillermoz‘s accident in the Tour de l’Ain, the team opted for me.”

“I never imagined clinching a stage win, considering the sprint’s intense pace. The race’s final moments today were especially nerve-wracking, with numerous roundabouts and gusty winds coming into play.”

“Participating in a Grand Tour sprint is invariably unique and, in this case, wholly unexpected.”

The day concluded with the red jersey race remaining in a status quo.

Lenny Martinez of Groupama-FDJ finished safely among the peloton, retaining the red jersey with an 8-second lead over Sepp Kuss of Jumbo-Visma, who managed to recover from a late crash.

Vuelta a España 2023: Stage 7 Results

  1. SOUPE Geoffrey (TotalEnergies): 04:56:29
  2. AULAR Orluis (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA): Same time
  3. THEUNS Edward (Lidl – Trek):
  4. MOLANO Juan Sebastián (UAE Team Emirates):
  5. GROVES Kaden (Alpecin-Deceuninck):
  6. VAN DEN BERG Marijn (EF Education-EasyPost):
  7. GONZÁLEZ David (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA):
  8. PAGE Hugo (Intermarché – Circus – Wanty):
  9. GANNA Filippo (INEOS Grenadiers):
  10. GOVEKAR Matevž (Bahrain – Victorious):
Lenny Martinez is presented with the red jersey after Stage 7 of the 2023 Vuelta a Espana.

Vuelta a España 2023: General Classification Standings after Stage 7

  1. MARTINEZ Lenny (Groupama – FDJ): 26:37:04
  2. KUSS Sepp (Jumbo-Visma): + 00:08
  3. SOLER Marc (UAE Team Emirates): + 00:51
  4. POELS Wout (Bahrain – Victorious): + 01:41
  5. CRAS Steff (TotalEnergies): + 01:48
  6. LANDA Mikel (Bahrain Victorious): + 01:58
  7. DE LA CRUZ David (Astana Qazaqstan Team): + 02:23
  8. CEPEDA Jefferson Alveiro (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA): + 02:30
  9. EVENEPOEL Remco (Soudal – Quick Step): + 02:47
  10. VINGEGAARD Jonas (Jumbo-Visma): + 02:50

Vuelta A España Jerseys After Stage 7

Red Jersey

MARTINEZ Lenny (Groupama – FDJ)

Green Jersey

GROVES Kaden (AUS/Alpecin-Deceuninck)

Polka-Dot Jersey

SEPÚLVEDA Eduardo (ARG/Lotto-Dstny)

White Jersey

MARTINEZ Lenny (Groupama – FDJ)

Stage 7 Combativity Award Winner

OKAMIKA Ander (Burgos-BH)

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Quentin's background in bike racing runs deep. In his youth, he won the prestigious junior Roc d'Azur MTB race before representing Belgium at the U17 European Championships in Graz, Austria. Shifting to road racing, he then competed in some of the biggest races on the junior calendar, including Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders, before stepping up to race Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Paris-Roubaix as an U23. With a breakthrough into the cut-throat environment of professional racing just out of reach, Quentin decided to shift his focus to embrace bike racing as a passion rather than a career. Now writing for BikeTips, Quentin's experience provides invaluable insight into performance cycling - though he's always ready to embrace the fun side of the sport he loves too and share his passion with others.

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