Both Astana-Qazaqstan and Intermarché-Circus-Wanty protested, but there were no penalties handed down, unlike on stage 4 when Alpecin Deceuninck's Mathieu van der Poel, was fined for deviating from his line during the sprint lead out for Philipsen, bumping Girmay in the process.
“Anyway, I am proud to take my first podium in my first ever Tour de France,” said Girmay after stage 7. “It shows that my condition is growing. Dion Smith and the rest of the team did a fantastic job in the final kilometres.”
It has been a spring of challenges for Girmay, who finished 97th in Gent-Wevelgem after winning the race in 2022 and then he crashed at the Tour of Flanders, sustaining a concussion that lead to two months without racing. However, he had shown he was coming into his debut Tour de France with powerful form when he took victory on stage 2 at the Tour de Suisse.
The climb heavy start to the Tour de France this year has meant that the chances to chase that sprint win in the first week of racing have been limited, with Girmay taking 11th on stage 3 and 19th on stage 4 before jumping up to third behind Philipsen and Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) on Friday.
Saturday’s stage 8 immediately presents another opportunity, plus the hilly profile near the end of the 200.7km to Limoges is likely to play to Girmay’s strengths.
“Collectively we are becoming stronger day by day, so I’m confident for tomorrow,” said Girmay. “With the harder profile we expect a smaller group to sprint for the victory and that’s what I prefer.”