"I tried but the last climb was too hard" - Marc Soler lights up stage 7 of Dauphine but is left without reward for his efforts

Although Primoz Roglic might have taken the win on stage 7 of the 2024 Criterium du Dauphine, the star of the day had to be UAE Team Emirates' Marc Soler.

Part of a very strong early breakaway that also included the likes of Lorenzo Fortunato, Koen Bouwman, Warren Barguil and Guillaume Martin, Soler, who started the day at just 3:45 down on Roglic, spent a lot of the day in the virtual race lead. Realising what was at stake, the UAE Team Emirates leader attacked clear of his breakaway rivals on the penultimate climb, pushing his advantage up over the five-minute mark from the peloton.

In the end though, despite entering the final climb towards the line with an advantage of 4:20, Soler couldn't hold that advantage on the staggeringly steep slopes of the Samoëns 1600, being caught with 2km to go and eventually coming home in 17th position, over three minutes down on the stage winner.

"The condition is good. I tried but the last climb was too hard and I could not make it," the 30-year-old recapped in his post-stage interview. "I was for on the general classification so I tried. We took some time but this climb was too hard and I could not do anything. There might be another opportunity tomorrow if the legs are here. I would like to finish this Dauphiné in a good condition and we will see.”

After the Dauphine concludes, Soler is expected to join an all-star support cast for Tadej Pogacar at the 2024 Tour de France, as the Slovenian attempts to become the first man to conquer a Giro d'Italia/Tour de France double in the same calendar year since Marco Pantani in 1998. Alongside the likes of Adam Yates, Juan Ayuso, Joao Almeida, Pavel Sivakov, Tim Wellens and Nils Politt, Soler will have a very important role to play in determining the destination of the Maillot Jaune.

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