Stage Report: The longest stage of the 2019 Tour de France came down to a bunch sprint in Chalon-Sur-Saône. All the fast-finishers were present for the final battle after 6 hours in the saddle. In a close call, the powerful Dutchman, Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) got the nod from the judges just ahead of Lotto Soudal’s Caleb Ewan and points leader, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe). Trek-Segafredo’s young Italian, Giulio Ciccone, held his overall lead.
A close win for Dylan Groenewegen from Caleb Ewan and Peter Sagan
We saw a new face in the yellow jersey today: Giulio Ciccone. He was part of the escape yesterday, in which he was the strongest along with Dylan Teuns. On the steep flanks of La Planche des Belles Filles, the Italian had to leave the win to his Belgian companion, but with the overall lead he did not leave stage six empty-handed. Under sunny conditions, the starting signal was given for stage 7.
Giulio Ciccone and his ‘domestique’ Richie Porte
Stage 7 Route:
The longest stage of the 2019 Tour de France. 230 kilometres from Belfort to Chalon-Sur-Saône, probably a day for the sprinters. The climbs of the day: The Col de Ferrière (2.7km at 4.6%) and the Côte de Nans-sous-Saint-Anne (3.5km at 5.7%), both Cat. 4, plus the Côte de Chassange-Saint-Denis (4.3km at 4.7%). There are 110 kilometres of flat roads from the last climb to the finish. The intermediate sprint in Mervans is 34 kilometres from the finish line in Chalon-Sur-Saône and there is nothing to cause a problem for the sprinters, except themselves.
The young Italian was the centre of attention at the start
It was going to be a long day in the saddle
Rossetto and Offredo make the break
Although the riders had 230 kilometres to cover today, that did not deter Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis) and Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Gobert) from attacking from the gun. Offredo seemed to be in doubt at first, when he saw that the other riders were not interested, the Frenchman started to work with his fellow countryman, Rossetto. They immediately took a good gap as they were no danger on the general classification.
Stephane Rossetto (Cofidis) and Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Gobert) were the ‘Break of the Day’
Mike Teunissen, winner of the first stage wearer of the yellow jersey for two days, and Tejay van Garderen both crashed on a junction. The EF Education First rider had a bad injury to his face, but both could continue and reconnected with the peloton.
The peloton were happy to let the pair go, but not too far
The bunch took it easy, so Rossetto and Offredo started the first climb after 35 kilometres, the Col de Ferrière, with a lead of more than 5 minutes. Offredo was the first over the summit taking the only mountain point. After that the sprinter’s teams reduced the advantage to a stable 4 minutes. On the Côte de Chassagne-Saint-Denis after 95.5 kilometres, Rossetto was first.
A good day in front of the cameras for Wanty-Gobert and Cofidis
Jumbo-Visma and Deceuninck-Quick Step in control
Sunweb also had a crash. Nicholas Roche went over his bars, but was able to hook up again, just like Teunissen and Van Garderen. For the peloton, Jumbo-Visma and Deceuninck – Quick-Step set the pace. Both teams have already won stages and kept the leading duo within reach to eventually bring their sprinters into position for the gallop to the line.
The sprinter’s teams kept the duo close enough to catch when they wanted
Offredo was the first over the Côte de Nans-sous-Sainte-Anne with still 110 kilometres to go. In the following kilometres, the peloton began to seriously reduce the lead. Lotto Soudal also began to help with the pursuit for Caleb Ewan. With only a margin of 1:45, Rossetto and Offredo started the last 50 kilometres.
At the sprint, with 34km to go, the pair had less than one and a half minutes
The intermediate sprint, 33.5 kilometres from the finish in Mervans, went to Rossetto. In the peloton, Bahrain-Merida and Sonny Colbrelli had set their sights on the sprint. The team put no less than three riders on the front for their sprinter, who did not disappoint. The Italian took it ahead of Peter Sagan, Elia Viviani and Michael Matthews.
Tony Martin pulled the peloton for many kilometres
Escape caught after 217 kilometres
Five kilometres after the intermediate sprint their lead was only 30 seconds. The peloton let them hang out in the wind for a while, but at 13 kilometres from the line Rossetto was the first to be caught and soon after, Offredo. They had raced no less than 217 kilometres off the front. After that it was up to Jumbo-Visma, Sunweb, Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Bora-Hansgrohe to battle for control of the peloton.
The fun was soon to end
20K to go and it was all over for the break – Offredo tried on his own a bit longer
Wout van Aert led the peloton into the last 3 kilometres, bringing the GC riders into the safety zone. He remained on the front until Amund Grøndahl Jansen took over 2.5 kilometres from the line. The teammates of Sagan were ready and on the wheel of the Norwegian. After that it was up to Deceuninck – Quick-Step, but the Belgian team was overtaken by Dylan Groenewegen.
Groenewegen was just too strong on the uphill finish
The Dutchman passed the ‘Blue Brigade’ on the left at high speed as he rushed to the finish line. Caleb Ewan came close, but the fast-man from Jumbo-Visma timed his last lunge just a little better. For the Australian it was second place, Sagan came third. Sonny Colbrelli and Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) completed the top 5. Giulio Ciccone did not see his yellow leader’s jersey endangered and remained in the overall lead.
Another stage win for Jumbo-Visma
Stage winner, Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma): “It’s always very close with Caleb as he’s a very good sprinter. I like to sprint against him. But this time I won. I had a difficult start to the Tour but yesterday I felt good again. Today the team really charged for me. And it was great. We took the lead very early but it was good. I started my sprint with 350 metres to go. I saw that Ewan had gone but fortunately it was enough. The first day was not at all what I expected and we worked very hard to get to this moment. I’m really happy with the team. After the last sprint stage they said they believed in me and they worked really hard for me.”
A happy ‘De Kernkikkervis’
Tour de France Stage 7 Result:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma in 6:02:44
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
4. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
5. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates
6. Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
7. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Dimension Data
8. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
9. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
10. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
11. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal
12. André Greipel (Ger) Arkéa Samsic
13. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Gobert
14. Mads Würtz Schmidt (Den) Katusha-Alpecin
15. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
16. Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
17. Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
18. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Total Direct Energie
19. Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
20. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale
21. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
22. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
23. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
24. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos
25. Geraint Thomas (GB) Ineos.
Tour de France Overall After Stage 7:
1. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo in 29:17:39
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:06
3. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida at 0:32
4. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma at 0:47
5. Geraint Thomas (GB) Ineos at 0:49
6. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos at 0:53
7. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:58
8. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:04
9. Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First at 1:13
10. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First at 1:15
11. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 1:19
12. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 1:22
13. Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:23
14. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:24
15. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Gobert at 1:39
16. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 1:41
17. Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar at 1:43
18. Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates at 1:46
19. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 1:52
20. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 1:56
21. Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo
22. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 2:22
23. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 2:23
24. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 2:31
25. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 2:55.