Van Aert wins wind-blown stage seven of Tour de France
British rider Adam Yates retained the yellow jersey while Peter Sagan took the green points jersey after his Bora team led a carefully plotted and brilliantly executed attack to drop his sprint rivals.
From 150km out, Bora launched an unexpected assault, cranking up the pace with attacks which succeeded in exploiting the crosswinds, splitting the pack and shedding Sagan's rivals in the points classification, Irishman Sam Bennett who started the day in green, and Australian Caleb Ewan.
Among the other victims was young Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, who started the day in third overall and was left behind late on due to a puncture with the peloton hitting speeds of 70 km/h in a crosswind.
"All the sprinters were dropped already and afterwards it was totally hectic," said the Jumbo rider at the finish line.