Dylan Groenewegen proved to be king of the sprinters when he won the fast 181km stage eight of the Tour de France in Amiens Métropole today.
The Dutch rider, a member of the LottoNL-Jumbo team, finished the route, which included two category 4 climbs and an intermediate sprint in La Neuve-Grange, in 4 hours 23 minutes and 36 seconds.
BMC Racing Team’s Greg Van Avermaet will wear the yellow jersey when the Tour resumes tomorrow.
Fabien Grellier (Direct Energie) and Marco Minnaard (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) were in the breakaway 150km from the finish, when they were more than three minute ahead of the peloton.
But the gap continued to shrink and with less than 40km to go the leaders were only two minutes ahead.
Several riders went down in a crash in the peloton, just under 20km from the finish. Among them were Tony Martin of Katusha-Alpecin, Dan Martin of Emirates, Julian Alaphlippe (Quick-Step Floors) and Trek–Segafredo’s Toms Skujins.
Alaphilppe and Dan Martin seemed to have come of worst. Martin was the only real general classification contender at that point, 2 minutes and 14 seconds behind the leaders and one minute and 30 seconds behind the peloton.
With 10km remaining, Grellier was alone in front after Minnaard had dropped back.
Shortly afterwards, riders from the general classification teams, which included FDJ, Dimension Data, Bahrain-Merida, Lotto Soudal, BMC and Bora, made their way towards the front of the peloton.
Philippe Gilbert of Quick-Step Floors pushed ahead with 2km to go and opened a gap but Lotto-Soudal’s Marcel Sieberg, Nikias Arndt of Team Sunweb, Maximiliano Richeze (Quick-Step) and Peter Sagan of Bora-Hansgrohe were all in the sprint to the line.
Greipel overhauled Sagan, but Groenewegen overtook him and snatched first place.
“The legs have been better every day. It was a fast final with a lot of corners but the team did an amazing job and put me in a great position,” said Groenewegen, after claiming his second win in two days.
“I saw Gaviria and Greipel were fighting for position but I saw the finish line and thought, this is the moment.”