Groenewegen edges stage seven sprint finish

By James Willoughby 13 July 2019 572
Groenewegen edges stage seven sprint finish

Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen pipped Caleb Ewan on the line to win stage seven of the Tour de France on Friday.

The Jumbo-Visma rider did just enough to see off Ewan at the end of the iconic race's longest day.

The 230km flat stage from Belfort to Chalon-sur-Saone ended in a sprint finish from a main bunch that included all of the race's general classification contenders, meaning Italian Giulio Ciccone retained his six-second advantage in the yellow jersey.

Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) remains ahead of Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), while defending champion Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) is still 49 seconds off the pace in fifth.

After an eventful stage on Thursday saw the race lead change hands and Thomas showcase his skill, Friday's proceedings started slowly.

Stephane Rossetto (Cofidis) and Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) decided enough was enough and kicked clear of the peloton, quickly opening up an advantage of more than five minutes.

The sleepy stage eventually came to life when, with less than 12km to go, the leading pair were hauled in.

That set the tone for a sprint finish and with Ciccone and Thomas safe in the main group, it appeared set for a battle between Groenewegen and Peter Sagan (BORA - Hansgrohe). Elia Viviani was in the mix, too, and Lotto-Soudal's Ewan also emerged as a threat.

And it was Ewan who pushed the stage winner all the way, Groenewegen only just holding off the Australian.

Groenewegen hit a top speed of 74.1 kilometres per hour in the sprint and became the first Dutch rider since Jeroen Blijlevens to win a stage at three successive Tour de France events. 

It was his first win of this year's Tour and fourth overall, all those victories coming in the last three years. Blijlevens won stages in 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998.


STAGE RESULT

1. Dylan Groenewegen (Team Jumbo-Visma) 6:02:44
2. Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) - same time
3. Peter Sagan (BORA-Hansgrohe) "
4. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) "
5. Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) "

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) 29:17:39
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) +0:06
3. Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida) +0.32

Points Classification

1. Peter Sagan (BORA-Hansgrohe) 177
2. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) 121
3. Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick Step) 117

King of the Mountains

1. Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) 43
2. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) 30
3. Xandro Meurisse (Wanty-Gobert Cycling Team) 27

WHAT'S NEXT?

An action-packed stage eight seems to be on the cards, with many of the race's top contenders conserving energy on Friday ahead of a hilly 200km-course from Macon to Saint-Etienne that contains five category two climbs.

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James Willoughby

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