Dylan Groenewegen wins stage seven of the Tour de France

Dylan Groenewegen
Dylan Groenewegen

Dylan Groenewegen won stage seven of the Tour de France in Chartres as Mark Cavendish was left to admit he was struggling to keep up with his rivals.

Dutchman Groenewegen showed impressive power to burst clear of Quick-Step Floors' Fernando Gaviria and world champion Peter Sagan of Bora-Hansgrohe at the top of a gradual climb to the finish of the 231-kilometre stage from Fougeres.

It was a first stage win of this Tour for the LottoNL-Jumbo rider and the second of his career after victory on the final stage in Paris last year.

Cavendish, who has 30 career Tour stage wins to leave him four short of Eddy Merckx's record, looked in good position in the final few hundred metres but sat up after a touch of wheels with Kristoff, and then admitted his top speed might not have been enough anyway.

"I was following quite good wheels but it was choppy. I was picking wheels and seemed to be a good position," the Manxman said.

"But when I went to go, Quick-Step and Bora have just got a different kind of level of top speed. I was quite excited and when I kicked my power was pretty good actually, but it wasn't enough.

"I had a little coming together with Alexander Kristoff, it might've been my fault and it just stopped me dead.

"I just keep trying, our backs are against the wall all the time here. It's not going to be easy to win here but we keep trying."

The stage, the longest of this year's Tour, was ridden at such a serene pace at times it might have been mistaken for the first rest day.

But things came to life in the final 10 kilometres as Chartres' Notre-Dame Cathedral slid into view, with teams fighting for position at the front.

Cavendish's Dimension Data team were still well placed after a double right-hander with two kilometres to go strung out the peloton, but he did not have the power needed at the top of the gradual climb to the line.

The general classification contenders all crossed the line safely in the main group, but BMC's Greg Van Avermaet doubled his slender advantage in yellow to six seconds by winning the bonus sprint 31km from home.

Team Sky's Geraint Thomas remains in second place, with Van Avermaet's team-mate Tejay Van Garderen in third, now eight seconds back.

Mitchelton-Scott's Adam Yates and Sky's Chris Froome remain 13th and 14th, with their deficit to yellow growing to 65 seconds.

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