Cummings, a former Olympic silver medalist and world champion from the track in the team pursuit, then attacked on his own 27km out while the 11 others - including Van Avermaet and Nibali - formed a chase group behind. The style remained unorthodox, but it was brilliantly efficient. I got in the break twice a year ago and the first hour and a half it was [aerobic] threshold efforts. "I will fight for it every minute", he said.
While you may have forgotten about the existence of the Tour de France, in light of another major global sporting event in the country that has stolen the spotlight as well as the busy sports summer on this side of the pond, this summer's Tour has seen its fair share of wacky and weird occurrences.
"Hopefully if [Chris] Froome wins the Tour we'll go there with a victor of the Tour de France".
Pinot sped up the pace in the final kilometer of climbing, cheered by legions of fans lining the road. "That was real old-school bike racing", said Froome. "And we saw a great Chris Froome, who deserves his victory".
Froome flashed a wide smile as he crossed the line, raising both arms in celebration then pumping his right fist emphatically. On yesterday's stage he finished third, and was accelerating towards Cavendish.
Stage 8 on Saturday is a much more challenging 184-kilometer (114-mile) leg from Pau to Bagneres-de-Luchon featuring four serious climbs, beginning with the Col du Tourmalet, which is so hard it's labeled "beyond classification".
When the break crept up to nearly six minutes - giving Van Avermaet an 11-minute overall lead on the road - the peloton reacted decisively.
After attacking before the main climb of the day, the Col d'Aspin, the Brit extended his lead on the ascent maintaining an advantage over the chasers to take a memorable win.
We're in the mountains proper now, with the legendary Tourmalet coming mid-stage as the first super-category climb in the race. Movistar and Sky continued to push and Pinot couldn't match the frenetic pace imposed by the peloton, falling even further out of contention. Need proof? Not a single rider has had to abandon or not start the race due to a collision.
The delay to the main group raised the issue of what time gaps the riders who were held up would be given; with that in mind it appeared that leading figures such as Alejandro Valverde, Froome and Daniel Martin could be seen slowing the peloton down to wait for their fellow riders.
Prudhomme had feared Cavendish might have lost the killer instinct needed in sprints after fatherhood - his daughter Delilah was born shortly before the 2012 Tour with son Frey born in August past year.