Dylan Groenewegen sprints to victory on longest day at the Tour de France

Dylan Groenewegen sprints to victory on longest day at the Tour de France
Dylan Groenewegen (second right) was first across the line ahead of Caleb Ewan (left) and Peter Sagan (second left) Credit: REUTERS

Dylan Groenewegen won stage seven of the Tour de France in Chalon-sur-Saone as Giulio Ciccone retained the yellow jersey.

Jumbo-Visma's Groenewegen edged out Lotto-Soudal's Caleb Ewan on the line at the end of the 230km stage from Belfort.

The bunch sprint meant no change at the top of the general classification standings, with Trek-Segafredo's Ciccone still six seconds clear of Deceuninck-Quick Step's Julian Alaphilippe.

Defending champion Geraint Thomas of Team Ineos remains the best-placed of the main contenders, fifth overall and 49 seconds down on Ciccone, who took yellow with second place on La Planche des Belles Filles on Thursday.

Friday was a much less dramatic affair, with the longest stage of the Tour raced at relatively sedate pace as riders let their legs recover.

Wanty-Gobert's Yoann Offredo and Cofidis' Stephane Rossetto attacked from the flag and the good friends might have imagined they were out on a training ride as they easily pulled more than five minutes clear in the first 20 kilometres.

The peloton was barely ticking behind, though the race finally began to come to life in the final 30 kilometres.

There was a moment of panic for Nairo Quintana and Dan Martin as the speed ramped up ahead of the intermediate sprint, leaving them in a group distanced on the road before Quintana's Movistar team sent a rescue force to pace them back.

The pack then came barrelling into town, where Groenewegen - left limping by an opening stage crash - showed he was back on form with his fourth career Tour stage win.

Groenewegen wins stage seven at the Tour!

The Dutchman finally does it. Dylan Groenewegen wins his first stage at this year's Tour after lunging for the line to beat Caleb Ewan by a matter of millimetres. Peter Sagan took third spot.

1km to go

Geting feisty out on the road. All of the main protagonists are bouncing around, seconds away from success or failure.

2km to go

A sweeping left-hander is navigated safely. Jumbo-Visma, Bora-Hansgrohe and Deceuninck-Quick Step are all on the front. Lotto-Soudal and Bahrian-Merida are also present. 

2.5km to go

Wout van Aert is grimacing on the front now, digging deep to keep the speed high for team-mate Dylan Groenewegen.

3km to go

And brathe, the riders have reached the magic 3km to go mark.

3.5km to go

Daniel Oss is guiding Peter Sagan towards the business end of the day, but we are not at the 3km to go mark just yer. Looking very nervy in the speeding bunch.

5km to go

Deceuninck-Quick Step are shifting up the right-hand side of the road. Peter Sagan bounces around in the pack, happy to freelance.

6km to go

Ineos and Bora-Hansgrohe are leading the way, the sprinters' teams taking a tow towards the 3km mark.

7km to go

Ineos move to the front, making sure their general classification riders – Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal – are safe.

8km to go

Peter Sagan has three team-mates drilling it on the front. Can the three-time world champion win a 13th Tour stage of his career?

9km to go

Bora-Hansgrohe are looking hungry; Tony Martin peels off having done an awful lot of work for his Jumbo-Visma team-mates.

12km to go

Game over for Yoann Offredo. Deceuninck-Quick Step are on the front, Bora-Hansgrohe and Jumbo-Visam tucked in behind. Can Dylan Groenewegen win his first stage at this year's Tour or will it be Elia Viviani who gets to raise his arms? 

12.5km to go

Stéphane Rossetto sits up. Yoann Offredo continues and will now surely win the combativity award for the day?

13km to go

Sharp left-hand turn and Bora-Hansgrohe move to the front alongside Deceuninck-Quick Step. Both teams conscious of the danger of any crosswinds when the road twists left to right.

15km to go

Groupama-FDJ, Sunweb, Movistar, Lotto-Soudal and Astana are all at the head of the field, filling the entire width of the road. Each squad is jostling for position; each with different ambitions. The gap on the breakaway remains 15sec.

18km to go

Just 16sec now separate the leading pair and the looming pack that will soon swallow up and, no doubt, spit out Stéphane Rossetto and Yoann Offredo before winding the pace up even further on the run-in to Chalon-sur-Saône where the sprinters are expecting to battle out the stage.

As it stands . . .

22km to go

All calm again back in the main peloton. Nairo Quintana et al has regained contact following that brief scare and the leading duo are being hung out to dry, their lead holding at the 25sec mark.

26km to go

Quite a few people are suggesting Nairo Quintana was caught with his shorts down – quite literally – a few minutes ago while taking a comfort break. If that's the case then he must have been very desperate! 

27km to go

Nairo Quintana is a very lucky boy. Four Movistar team-mates have dropped back to help him chase back on. The peloton may have eased up a little to let them get back on. Not sure if Quintana had had a mechanical issue.

30km to go

Sonny Colbrelli takes the lion's share of the points from the peloton at the intermediate sprint after the Italian was delivered to the line by his Bahrain-Merida team-mates. Peter Sagan followed, just ahead of Elia Viviani and Michael Matthews.

Following that brief little piece of action a handful of riders were caught out by a split in the group. Nairo Quintana (Movistar, Col), Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates, Irl) and Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott, Aus) are all in danger of losing time here today.

33.43km to go | Intermediate sprint

Stéphane Rossetto 'wins' the intermediate sprint ahead of Yoann Offredo. Peloton and full details to follow.

36km to go

Italian sprinter Sonny Colbrelli and his Bahrain-Merida team-mates have shuffled their way up towards the front of the pack and the mood all appears very cordial between the various rivals. Colbrelli was just chatting with Elia Viviani while Thomas De Gendt, who is pulling hard for Lotto-Soudal, was all smiles for the camera. Intermediate sprint incoming.

40km to go

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma, Bel) was forced into taking a bike change a few moments ago. he shouldn't have too many problems chasing back on though.

45km to go . . .

What is starting to feel like an endless stage is finally into the final 50km. Here's a picture of Egan Bernal in the white jersey. The young Colombian doesn't actually lead the competition as the best young competition – Giulio Ciccone does, but he can't wear two jerseys

Credit: Getty Images

The peloton no trails the leading pair by 1min 30sec. 

52km to go

As is so often the case on stages like this, both the general classification teams and those with sprinters hoping to contest the stage are filling the entire width of the road, jostling for position near the pointy end of the peloton. The sprinters' squads will want to have their men positioned ready for the fast run-in towards the finish line, while the general classification teams will be desperate to make sure their leaders stay upright and out of harm's way. On stages that are expected to end in a sprint, the race organisers invoke the 3km rule.

62km to go

News in from Italy where Lizzy Banks has just won stage eight at the 30th edition of the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile, or the Giro Rosa as it is more commonly known. The 28-year-old Briton, who rides for the Bigla team, won the 133.3km stage from Vittorio Veneto to Maniago, ahead of US team-mate Leah Thomas and Italian rider Soraya Paladin of Alé Cipollini who rounded off the podium. Dutch rider Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) retained her lead in the general classification with two stages remaining.

Oh, the breakaway's lead has dropped to 1min 50sec.

65km to go

Reports from the fining line in Chalon-sur-Saône are saying that the windspeed is around 20.0kmh and that it is a crosswind, blowing from the left. If that's the case then I can't really see it having much bearing on the outcome of today's stage. Beautiful looking day for a bike ride, by the way. 

75km to go

The leading duo's advantage has dropped to two minutes dead. A number of the teams in the chasing group may be starting to think about the intermediate sprint which comes quite late into today's stage. There will be 20, 17, 15, 13, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 point on offer to the first 15 riders across the line in the small town of Mervans which comes 33.4 km from the finishing in Chalon-sur-Saône.

80km to go

No change on the front. Deceuninck-Quick Step are sat on the front of the peloton, tucked in just behind are Lotto-Soudal who fill three or four berths just ahead of a lone Jumbo-Visma rider.

85km to go

Stéphane Rossetto and Yoann Offredo are still doing their work out in front, their noses in the wind. I'm sure today's finish is going to be awfully exciting, but at the moment there is genuinely little to report on. The only thing of any interest to report is that there is apparently wind at the finishing line. If that's the case and it is a headwind, then that would suit pint-sized sprinter Caleb Ewan.

The breakaway's lead is 2min 20sec.

95km to go

Still all quiet out on the road as Trek-Segafredo ride in support of maillot jaune Giulio Ciccone while Peter Sagan, who is wearing the green jersey as leader in the points classification, will be starting to think about how he is going to upset the pure sprinters at the end of today's stage and add a second win to his palmarès. But what do all the jerseys mean in the Tour de France? Here's a video we made earlier . . .

The breakaway's lead has dropped to 2min 57sec. Unless we see an increase in pace today's stage will end around 30min behind schedule.

100km to go

The leading two riders have increased their advantage to a shade over four minutes. Meanwhile, EF Education First general manager Jonathan Vaughters has just been speaking to Eurosport and he sounded fairly downbeat over Tejay van Garderen following his crash.

Breaking news | Giulio Ciccone extends with Trek-Segafredo

Trek-Segafredo has just announced that Tour de France leader Giulio Ciccone has signed a contract extension with the team. After winning a stage at the Giro d'Italia along with the mountains classification, the Italian rider has been one of the standout riders for the US team.

Giulio Ciccone took the leader's yellow jersey following Thursday's stage Credit: Getty Images

In a statement from the team, Ciccone said: “I am super excited to renew my contract with Trek-Segafredo. I am really enjoying myself in this team, that feels as one big family to me. After my Giro, there were quite some teams interested but for me it was pretty clear I wanted to stay with Trek-Segafredo, where I feel so at home.

“The team is giving me lots of opportunities to grow and learn and that’s truly amazing. I mean, look at me, I came to the Tour de France to gain some experience and to support Richie Porte in the climbing stages, and here I am, wearing the yellow. I will try to enjoy this jersey as much as I can, but my focus stays with Richie, he’s our leader and I will do my very best to help and protect him as much as possible.”

110km to go

Yoann Offredo adds another point to his total in the mountains classification atop the Coté de Nans-Sous-Sainte-Anne which was the third and final categorised climb of this very long, very slow and very uneventful stage.

120km to go

The two-man breakaway's advantage has dropped to below three minutes and, as mentioned earlier, it has been a very slow day or riding. The average speed of the leading pair is just 34.7kph. That's very, very slow.

Yoann Offredo (left) and Stéphane Rossetto made the break Credit: Getty Images

By the way, I've not really mentioned this yet, but Deceuninck-Quick Step are sharing the work on the front of the peloton. The Belgian super-team will be hoping that their sprinter Elia Viviani can win his second stage of the week later this afternoon.

125km to go

Nicholas Roche (Sunweb, Irl) has just crashed, but there were no pictures of the incident so not entirely sure what happened. The Irishman wasted little time in getting back in the saddle, though, before working his way through the team cars that trail the peloton. He shouldn't have too many problems getting back on.

Incidentally, this is Roche's 21st grand tour start which is a new Irish record having previously been level with Sean Kelly on 20. Roche has just one DNF (did not finish) next to his name, while Kelly had four – and one overall win at the Vuelta a España.

Money matters . . .

For those who are interested in these things, here's what each team has won so far at this year's race . . .

  . . . and the top 10 riders by prize money . . .

134.43km to go

Stéphane Rossetto took the points atop the Coté de Chassagne-Saint-Denis, but it wasn't much of a competition. The 32 year-old rolled off ahead of breakaway partner Yoann Offredo who doubled his total in the competition with the solitary point he just picked up.  

135km to go

Today's stage may be ticking away at a gentle pace, but with the threat of crosswinds it will be far from a breeze. Riders that are hiding in the wheels will have to pay attention to what is happening further up the bunch. Nobody will want to be caught out by strong gusts of wind.

Riders will be conscious about the threat of crosswinds Credit: Getty Images

The two-man break is now on the category three Coté de Chassagne-Saint-Denis, their lead having dropped slightly to 3min 56sec.

145km to go

Breakaway man Yoann Offredo was the first over the category four Col de Ferrière climb earlier today, a result that handed the 32 year-old from Savigny-sur-Orge his first point in the mountains classification and his first small pile of cash to chuck in the beer fund.

The Wanty-Gobert rider pocketed himself €200 atop that particular climb, but will he be adding tio his tally on the upcoming Coté de Chassagne-Saint-Denis which follows in around 10km? 

155km to go

Yoann Offredo and Stéphane Rossetto increase lead to 4min 15sec.

Yoann Offredo leads the way ahead of Stéphane Rossetto Credit: REX FEATURES

Van Garderen in the wars

Much earlier in the stage, Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First, US) and a group of his team-mates hit the deck, as did Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma, Hol) who held the leader's maillot jaune for a couple of days at the start of the race after his surprise opening-day stage win. 

All managed to get back on their bikes, but Van Garderen may need his jersey replacing and a plaster or two later this afternoon.

Tejay van Garderen picked up some cuts and grazes in his fall Credit: Getty Images

What's on the menu?

There are just three categorised climbs during today's stage . . .

 . . . which is weighted towards the sprinters who can earn 50 points on the finishing line – the maximum available at any point in the race.

165km to go

Afternoon folks, following a quick spin around the park I'm just catching up with today's action which, to be honest, has not taken me too long. A two-man breakaway made of of the French baroudeurs Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis Solutions Crédits) clipped off the front from pretty early in the stage and as it stands they have lead of four minutes on the peloton. It has been a remarkably slow day, no doubt the peloton taking it as easy as they can following Thursday's tough day in the saddle.

Welcome all

Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage seven of the 106th edition of the Tour de France, the run from Belfort to Chalon-sur-Saône which at 230 kilometres is the longest at this year's race.

The stage is one of two parts, the opening half a bit of a roller on which Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal, Bel) may look to get in a breakaway and  extend his lead in the mountains classification atop the three categorised climbs.

Once over the climbs, though, we can expect to see the sprinters' teams come to the fore. Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick Step, Ita), Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal, Aus) and Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma, Hol) will all have their eyes on the stage win.

Being the longest stage of the Tour, it will surprise few of you to discover that it will be an early start for the riders – 10.35am (BST) – though our live coverage will not get under way until 12.30pm. Join us then for all the action, up-to-speed virtual standings and full results once we know who has won the stage and the numbers tallied up.

Where are we?

Here's a reminder of the route of this year's Tour de France . . .

   . . . and here are the details of each and every stage at this year's race:

As it stands . . . 

Here's what the standings look like in the general, points, mountains, young rider and team classifications after six days of racing.

The Cycling Podcast: re-cap of yesterday's stage

The Tour de France burst into life with a classic mountain stage on La Planche des Belles Filles, with the final gravel section seeming to put an element of doubt into the minds of the riders.

Richard Moore, Lionel Birnie and François Thomazeau recap the sixth stage of the Tour which saw two debutants take the major honours.

The stage was won by Belgian rider Dylan Teuns with his breakaway companion Giulio Ciccone pinching the yellow jersey by a fine margin despite a spirited late bid to keep it by Julian Alaphilippe.

To begin with, the team hear from a range of riders and team managers about what they expected from the stage and then discuss whether their predictions matched the reality. Spoiler: They didn’t.

The Cycling Podcast asks why no one chased harder earlier in the stage, weigh up who had a good day and who didn’t, and discuss the significance of Geraint Thomas’s strength in the final few hundred metres of the stage.

  • The Cycling Podcast is supported by Rapha and Science In Sport.