Dutch sprinter Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) took the first Tour de France stage win of his career Sunday on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, beating out Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) in the mad dash for the line.
A former Dutch national champion, Groenewegen, 24, came into the final right-hand turn second wheel, behind Katusha-Alpecin’s Rick Zabel after bumping Alexander Kristoff off Zabel’s wheel, and though he started his sprint at 205 metres to go, and though Greipel was quicker in the final 50 metres, Groenewegen crossed the line first to win the biggest sprint in pro cycling.
“This is an amazing place for the sprinters,” Groenewegen said. “To win on the Champs-Elysées makes it a perfect day. We’re only five riders in the team but it was enough today. They did a great job. They put me in a good position, on the wheel of Alexander Kristoff and then I rushed to the finish line. This is my first stage win at the Tour. When I was young, I was looking at the Champs-Elysées stage on TV. Now I’m the winner here, it’s wonderful.”
Chris Froome (Team Sky) crossed the finish line safely in yellow to secure his fourth Tour de France title in five years, 54 seconds ahead of Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) and 2:20 ahead of Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale). The win — Froome’s first victory this season — marked Team Sky’s fifth Tour victory in six years.
“It’s just an amazing feeling,” Froome said. “The Champs-Elysées never disappoints. There’s something magical about it when you spend three weeks thinking of this moment. It’s just rewarding. It’s amazing to see my wife and my son again after several months on the road. Each time I’ve won the Tour, it has been so unique. All my victories are so special in their own ways. This one will be remembered as the closest and more hard fought of them. It’s a huge honor to be mentioned in the same sentence as Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain. It’s a privilege to be going for the record next year.”
Uran said he could only be satisfied to finish second to a four-time Tour champion.
“Finishing second to Froome at less than a minute seems pretty good to me,” said Uran. “We knew it would be difficult to win the Tour but not impossible, so we gave it everything. It’s a quality final podium in Paris, so this is the greatest success of my career. This result is dedicated to my family, friends, my team and everyone who has supported me during the last three weeks.”
Team Sunweb’s Michael Matthews stood on the podium in Paris as the third Australian to win the green jersey competition.
“I had the opportunity to go for the green jersey and I took that opportunity with both hands,” Matthews said. “Maybe next year I’ll have other objectives than the Tour de France but for now I want to enjoy this green jersey. With Tom Dumoulin winning the pink jersey [at the Giro d’Italia], Warren Barguil winning the polka dot jersey and myself the green, three jerseys within one year is a huge achievement.”
Matthews’ teammate Warren Barguil was awarded the King of the Mountains prize, as well as the Super Combativity award as the most combative rider of the entire three-week race.
“My dream was to win a stage of the Tour de France,” Barguil said. “Two stage wins and the polka dot jersey, that’s beyond my dreams. It’s been an exceptional Tour. Everything’s crazy: riding on the Champs-Elysées with the polka dot jersey, being on the podium in front of the Arc de Triomphe… soon I’ll focus on other goals.”
Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) was crowned the best young rider of the Tour de France, one year after his twin brother Adam won the same prize.
This article was originally published on cyclingtips.com
Photography by Cor Vos