The rider that everyone thought would be dominating the sprints at this year’s Tour de France scored his first victory on Stage 7. Dylan Groenewegen just edged out Caleb Ewan in a bunch sprint that also featured Peter Sagan and Sonny Colbrelli, emerging from behind what had been an immaculate leadout by the Deceuninck - Quick Step team for their sprinter, Elia Viviani, to take the day in Chalon-sur-Saône.
Until that point, there had been very little to talk about on today’s stage – the longest in this year’s Tour, at 230 kilometers. Crashes early in the stage scuffed up Nicolas Roche and badly bloodied Tejay Van Garderen, but both were able to continue the race. The riders doddled along at an average of 35 kilometers per hour (21 miles per hour) as they skirted the Jura region of France in slow-motion pursuit of a breakaway group of two men: Yoann Offredo and Stéphane Rossetto.
Those two took the first points available at the intermediate sprint in the town of Mervans, and then the peloton behind upped the pace to compete for the remaining points, with Colbrelli leading the way across the line. The continued momentum from the bunch caught a few unlucky riders toward the back of the pack unaware, and there were a few kilometers of mild panic, as such luminaries as Dan Martin, Wout Van Aert, and Simon Yates found themselves some 10 seconds behind the bunch. Fortunately, their number also included Nairo Quintana, who may have been delayed by a mechanical incident and whose Movistar team sent riders back to pace him – and the rest – back into the peloton.
With about 15 kilometers to go, the breakaway of Offredo and Rossetto was caught, and the teams of sprinters began to organize for the final trot to the line.
The overall standings remain undisturbed, as do the jerseys: Giulio Ciccone continues to lead the overall and youth classifications, Tim Wellens leads the mountain classification, and Peter Sagan increased his lead in the points classification.
Tomorrow the race continues inland, taking on a lumpy course that feautres seven minor categorized climbs. Could be a good day for a breakaway. Could also be a good opportunity for Julian Alaphilippe to try to take the yellow jersey from Ciccone. He trails in the overall classification by just six seconds.
|6||Egan Arley Bernal Gomez||+00:00:53|
|10||Rigoberto Uran Uran||+00:01:15|