Groenewegen blasts his rivals with impressive sprint finish
Groenewegen gapped all the top sprinters, beating Gavira, Sagan and Demare in the final sprint on the the year's longest stage
Dylan Groenewegen sprinted to victory on stage seven of the Tour de France, the longest stage in this year’s race, which ended in a high-octane sprint finish.
The LottoNL-Jumbo rider was too fast for double stage winner Fernando Gaviria (QuickStep Floors), second, and Green Jersey wearer Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe), third.
Mark Cavendish's (Dimension Data) team put him in prime place as he promised to deliver a stage win, only managing 10th place.
Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing) arrived safely across the line to retain the yellow jersey and even bagged some bonus points, as BMC Racing boxed Team Sky and Geraint Thomas in - not able to contest the late bonus sprint points.
All the GC contenders arrived safely across the line after the 231km stage with no major changes in the overall GC.
At the start Thomas Degand (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) attacked, but he was unwilling to ride solo. A dangerous 10 man breakawy containing Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Julien Vermote (Dimension Data), Lukas Postlberger (Bora-hansgrohe) and Ag2r-La Mondiale duo Oliver Naesen and Tony Gallopin went away, but LottoNL-Jumbo were unhappy with the makeup of the break and rode hard to shut it down.
Only Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) after 40km of racing, broke away on his own after Team orders. No one seemed to care and his lead went up to over eight minutes but was halved by the time he crested the lone 4th category climb of the day.
Ag2r-La Mondiale and Trek-Segafredo came to the front and dropped the hammer in heavy crosswinds to create splits in the nervous peloton, which all came back together with 90km to go. Laurent Pichon (Fortuneo-Samsic) went up the road for the second day in a row, and took the intermediate sprint.
As the longest stage and nobody wanting to waste energy, the pace slowed in the peloton, only gaining spped in the last 10 km for the finale.
Dylan Groenewegen’s power in the final sprint was unexpected, the Dutchman put in a impressive sprint, distancing the top sprinters, who were left to fight amongst themselves, with only Gaviria, Sagan and Arnaud Demare featuring.
Pichon’s solo breakaway ended with 38km to go, as yellow jersey Van Avermaet took advantage by leading his team-mates through the bonus sprint points line.
QuickStep led the sprint out with Bora-hansgrohe, Dimension Data and LottoNL-Jumbo contributing, however Groenewegen powered around Gaviria to take his first stage win at this year’s race, his second stage win at the Tour having won on the Champs-Elysees in 2017.
VIDEO: 2018 Tour de France Stage 7 Highlights
2018 Tour de France Stage 7 Top 10
1) Dylan Groenewegen (NED) – LottoNL-Jumbo – 5.43.42hrs
2) Fernando Gaviria (COL) – QuickStep Floors – ST
3) Peter Sagan (SVK) – Bora-hansgrohe
4) Arnaud Demare (FRA) – Groupama-FDJ
5) Christophe Laporte (FRA) – Cofidis
6) John Degenkolb (GER) – Trek-Segafredo
7) Daryl Impey (RSA) – Mitchelton-Scott
8) Andre Greipel (GER) – Lotto-Soudal
9) Andrea Pasqualon (ITA) – Wanty-Groupe Gobert
10) Mark Cavendish (GBR) – Dimension Data
2018 Tour de France General classification after Stage 7
1) Greg van Avermaet (BEL) – BMC Racing – 28.19.25hrs
2) Geraint Thomas (GBR) – Team Sky +6"
3) Tejay van Garderen (USA) – BMC Racing +8"
4) Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) – QuickStep Floors +9"
5) Philippe Gilbert (BEL) – QuickStep Floors +15"
6) Bob Jungels (LUX) – QuickStep Floors +21"
7) Rigoberto Uran (COL) – EF-Drapac +48"
8) Alejandro Valverde (ESP) – Movistar +54"
9) Rafal Majka (POL) – Bora-hansgrohe +55"
10) Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) – Astana +56"
11) Richie Porte (AUS) – BMC Racing - ST
12) Mikel Landa (ESP) – Movistar +58"
13) Adam Yates (GBR) – Mitchelton-Scott +1.05
14) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky - ST
16) Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) – Bahrain-Merida +1.11
19) Tom Dumoulin (NED) – Team Sunweb +1.26
23) Romain Bardet (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +1.48
27) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar +2.1