Groenewegen Gets Tour de France Stage 7 Over Ewan, Sagan

Dutch speed king Dylan Groenewegen edged an ultra-tight bunch sprint on stage seven of the Tour de France on Friday as Italy's Giulio Ciccone retained the overall race lead.

Groenewegen beat Australia's Caleb Ewan in a photo-finish to make up for the pain of falling on stage one on the Brussels home straight.

Pure sprinter Groenewegen was left sat on his backside in Brussels when he had been red-hot favourite to win.

He was also left to wonder what might have been as his teammate Mike Teunissen won the opening stage and pulled on the overall leader's yellow jersey.

"The first day wasn't what I expected but now I'm back on top," said the Jumbo-Visma man on the finish line on the banks of the Soane river on a baking afternoon.

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 the great British sprinter Mark Cavendish, who won 30 stages of the Tour de France in his prime.

Slovakia's 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.

"These two guys (Groenewegen and Ewan) are much faster than me."

Thomas Just Happy To Be Ahead

Defending champion Geraint Thomas, who beat all his key rivals the day before, and his Ineos co-captain Egan Bernal finished safely in the pack.

"It was reassuring to see Geraint Thomas at this level," said Ineos sports director Nicolas Portal, describing the Welshman's performance as "morale boosting".

"Yesterday was a kind of weird mountain stage and I'm just glad to be in front of everyone (the title contenders)," Thomas said at the start of Friday's stage in the fortified town of Belfort.

On the longest stage of the Tour at 230km, the riders involved in the summit showdown the day before were mainly in relaxed mood.

"I'm looking forwards to a quiet couple of stages now, we're all really calm after a good day yesterday," said 22-year-old Bernal.

One man who was far from relaxed Friday was the previous day's main loser on the challenging seven-mountain slog.

Romain Bardet said Friday he felt ashamed of his performance on the staggeringly steep La Planche des Belles Filles climb Thursday where he lost over a minute in only 800 metres.

Television viewers were given a series of spectacular panoramas as the peloton, led by a beaming overall leader Ciccone, wound slowly out of the rolling hills of the Alsace, leaving behind its storks and quaint villages of half-wooden houses.

But with an escape group zooming five minutes ahead after 80km, sprinter Viviani's Deceuninck-Quick-Step team cranked up the tempo on the flat plains of Burgundy, renowned for its wines and cuisine.

Stephane Rossetto of Cofidis and Yoann Offredo of Wanty-Gobert led from the start to 5km from home, before the peloton caught them to set up a sprint finish.

Saturday's stage features seven categorised climbs where home fans will be baying for Frenchman 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," the 24-year-old Ciccone said.

UAE Tour Preview: Froome Returns & Sprinters Set To Battle

Chris Froome's comeback will dominate the second edition of the UAE Tour when it pushes off from Dubai on Sunday, February 23. The event will be Froome's first race back after breaking his leg in June and undergoing extensive rehabilitation.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

The Five Big Favorites For The UAE Tour

As the winner of the 2018 Tour de l’Avenir, Tadej Pogacar entered the WorldTour in 2019 as a young rider with great potential. However, nobody expected what came next.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

How To Watch Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Live And On Demand

The 2020 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad will be available live and on demand for FloBikes viewers in the U.S. and Canada on February 29th. Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is the opening race of the cobbled classics, featuring iconic climbs such as the Muur van Geraardsbergen.

How To Watch Strade Bianche Live And On Demand

The 2020 Strade Bianche will be available live and on demand for FloBikes viewers in the U.S. and Canada on March 7th. The race is classified as a UCI 1.WT, and takes place in the Tuscany region of Italy, along the iconic white gravel roads, or "Strade Bianche."

Become A FloBikes Ambassador Today

FloBikes is launching its first Ambassador Program, and we want you to join the team. Spread the word about FloBikes to friends, family, coworkers, and just about anyone you know who shares a passion for cycling. You'll get paid for every person who signs up for a FloBikes yearly subscription using the links you share!

Is This The Quintana Year? Tour De La Provence Takeaways

The Biggest Moments On Ventoux

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Is this finally the year of Nairo Quintana? After all the podiums, the switch to Team Arkéa-Samsic may have been the boost needed for the Colombian to climb his way to a Tour de France victory.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Four Stories To Watch During The 2020 Classics

'It's Electrifying': Quick-Step's Team

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

The 2020 spring classics get underway on Saturday February 29th at the 75th running of Belgium's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Dumoulin Delays Start, Skips Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Grand Tour star Tom Dumoulin will delay his return to racing, skipping an altitude camp and Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo.

High Mountains In The Early Season: Tour De La Provence Preview

Sepp Kuss Puts Aside Personal Tour Glory

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

For 2020 the Tour de la Provence has moved up in UCI classification, from a 2.1 event to 2.Pro (the new designation for UCI 2.HC events, just one step below the WorldTour). 

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Does Cavendish Have A New Job? Saudi Tour Takeaways

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

The Saudi Tour marked a new chapter in the arguably aging career of Mark Cavendish. The latter part of Cavendish’s recently concluded tenure at Dimension Data was marred by crashes and illness, with few triumphs in between. Well, few triumphs when one considers the impossibly high bar that the 30 time Tour de France stage winner has set for himself. 

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In