Dylan Groenewegen (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) won the 7th stage of the Tour de France, sprinting to the win in Chartres. Fernando Gaviria (Quickstep-Floors) was 2nd and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished 3rd.
Stage 7 of the Tour de France was the longest of the race at 231km but the flat nature of the course meant it was another day for the sprinters. With such a long stage and the inevitable bunch gallop, no riders were all that keen on trying to make the early break. In the end, the stage was strangely characterized by 3 separate solo breakaways from Thomas Degand & Yoann Offredo (Wanty Groupe Gobert) and Laurent Pichon (Fortuneo).
As expected the breakaways came to nothing and the peloton rolled toward Chartres all together for the final 30km. The pace really picked up with 15km to go though, as the team sprint trains began to get organised and position their sprinters. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka again looked good with Jay Thomson and Julien Vermote leading the way into the final 5km.
Our African Team then had Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Mark Renshaw and Mark Cavendish for the finale. The sprint started to get a little messy with 2km to go after passing through a couple of roundabouts but Cavendish was still in contention with Renshaw keeping the pace high at the head of affairs.
It was a slight uphill drag to the line today so timing the sprint was critical and Cavendish looked to have it down, being on the wheel of Groenwegen when the sprint opened up at 250m to go. While the Dutchman did look to have everyone beat today, Cavendish’s was looking at a stage podium placing when a rider behind made contact with his rear wheel at 100m to go. The loss of speed from the contact saw our Manxman cross the line 10th on the stage.
Mark Renshaw – Rider
It was another quick finish today after a long stage. For us, the wheels kind of fell off our sprint train with 2km to go. We had Cav on my wheel and after the corner I heard him yelling. That normally means he’s not on the wheel anymore, when I looked back I couldn’t see him so I went to the front to speed it up so that it would least give Cav the chance to move and he could still contest the sprint. We’re going to keep trying, we have another chance tomorrow and I think it’s another slightly uphill finish. We have a great team here that’s been riding well together and showing fight so hopefully we can get a reward for our efforts.