Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) did something amazing near the famous cathedral in Chartres, France. He made sprinter Fernando Gaviria (Quickstep Floors) look slow.
Gaviria had proven himself the fastest man in the Tour de France when the road was straight and flat. He’d won two stages and many expected him to win one or two more.
However, it was the young Dutchman, who announced his arrival last year in winning the final Tour stage on the Champs Elysees, who won the bunch sprint on stage 7 from Fougeres to Chartres.
WIth 200 meters to go, he pulled off the wheel of Alexandrer Kristoff and simply blasted ahead of Gaviria and Peter Sagan (Bora Hansgrohe) to win by several bike lengths. He made it look simple and he made the Colombian look like he’d lost a gear.
“I’ve been going better every day. I said I needed some time, and I didn’t feel good in the first stages,” said Groenewegen. “Today we did it and it’s amazing. I’m really grateful.”
Until Groenewegen suddenly burst up the middle, the sprint looked like a two man battle between Gaviria and Sagan, with the Slovakian bumping Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) off the Quickstep rider’s wheel. However, the young sprinter from Amsterdam surprised them both.
Speaking of surprises, welcome to the Tour sprints, Mr. Mark Cavendish. He’s been largely invisible as he works himself back from injury and back up to speed. He admitted that while his “back is to the wall” when facing off against Quickstep and Bora, he was “excited” to be in the mix. He was able to use his experience and instincts to pick his way through the high speed traffic and looked to be fifth before a bump with Kristoff slowed him down.
Meanwhile, Groenewegen appears to be getting hungrier by the day. “I hope there’s more. I have the legs to win now, so we celebrate tonight and maybe the same tomorrow.” That’s a good trick: making Gaviria look slow.