Dylan Groenewegen edged an ultra-tight bunch sprint on stage seven of the Tour de France on Friday as Giulio Ciccone retained the overall race lead.
Groenewegen beat Caleb Ewan in a photo-finish to make up for the pain of falling on stage one on the Brussels home straight. He was left sat on his backside in Brussels when he had been red-hot favourite to win.
“The first day wasn’t what I expected but now I’m back on top,” said the Jumbo-Visma man.
Groenewegen was asked if he was the best pure sprinter in the world, but he refused to be drawn.
The 26-year-old is being compared to Mark Cavendish, who won 30 stages of the Tour de France in his prime.
Peter Sagan retained the sprinters’ points green jersey after finishing third.
“I stayed on Groenewegen’s wheel, but then I switched to Elia Viviani’s, wrong move, they shot past us,” said Sagan.
Saturday’s stage features seven categorised climbs where home fans will be baying for Julian Alaphilippe to try and regain the overall lead.
Alaphilippe was cheered for two days after taking the lead at Epernay, but agonisingly lost it by six seconds to Ciccone at La Planche des Belles Filles on Thursday.
“Tomorrow will be a very hard stage, I’ll need to have a very good day to keep the yellow jersey,” Ciccone said.
Tour de France 2019 – stage 7 results (Belfort – Chalon-sur-Saône):
|1||Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma)|
|2||Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal)|
|3||Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe)|
|4||Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida)|
|5||Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates)|
|6||Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)|
|7||Giacomo Nizzolo (Dimension Data)|
|8||Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo)|
|9||Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb)|
|10||Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates)|
|11||Jasper De Buyst (Lotto Soudal)|
|12||André Greipel (Arkea Samsic)|
|13||Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Gobert)|
|14||Mads Würtz Schmidt (Katusha-Alpecin)|
|15||Maximiliano Richeze (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)|
|16||Rick Zabel (Katusha-Alpecin)|
|17||Ivan Garcia (Bahrain-Merida)|
|18||Niccolò Bonifazio (Total Direct Energie)|
|19||Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-Merida)|
|20||Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale)|
Tour de France 2019 – general classification after stage 7:
|1||Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo)|
|2||Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)|
|3||Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida)|
|4||George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma)|
|5||Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos)|
|6||Egan Bernal (Team Ineos)|
|7||Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)|
|8||Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma)|
|9||Michael Woods (EF Education First)|
|10||Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First)|
|11||Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)|
|12||Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-hansgrohe)|
|13||Enric Mas (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)|
|14||Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)|
|15||Xandro Meurisse (Wanty-Gobert)|
|16||Nairo Quintana (Movistar)|
|17||Mikel Landa (Movistar)|
|18||Daniel Martin (UAE Team Emirates)|
|19||David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ)|
|20||Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida)|