Tour de France stage 3: Dylan Groenewegen snatches victory in four-up photo finish
By-the-books bunch sprint stage sees pile up at 10km to go, leaving Bahrain-Victorious and EF Education-EasyPost captains losing time.
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Dylan Groenewegen (BikeExchange Jayco) scored Tour de France victory in a four-up photo finish Sunday.
Groenewegen topped yellow jersey Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin Decuninck), and Peter Sagan (Total Energies) in Sønderborg, Denmark.
Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) lost the wheels of his leadout in the final and was left with fifth after taking the top of the podium the day before.
Victory on Sunday gives Groenewegen his fifth Tour victory, and first in the race since 2019.
The Dutchman switched to BikeExchange-Jayco in the winter to increase his grand tour opportunities after racing with GC-focused Jumbo-Visma – the move paid off.
“I have to say thank you to the team, my family and friends for bringing me back to the Tour in good shape,” Groenewegen said at the finish. “It’s beautiful.”
The period between Groenewegen’s stage win Sunday and his previous three years ago was blighted by his involvement in Fabio Jakobsen’s Tour of Poland crash. Groenewegen was subject of death threats and social media scorn for months while he served his suspension.
“Mentally it was a hard time after it all happened, and for my family,” he said, tears in his eyes. “This is for my wife and my son, it means a lot for me.”
The mass sprint unfolded after a relatively sedate day for the bunch.
Home hero Magnus Cort (EF Education EasyPost) rode solo at the front of the race for more than three hours and harvested the mountain points as the peloton soft-tapped a few minutes behind in anticipation of the high speed final into Sønderborg.
A large pile-up at 10km to go split the bunch in half and saw Bahrain Victorious pair Damiano Caruso and Jack Haig, and EF Education-EasyPost leader Rigoberto Urán lose time.
>> Read more on the crash here.
Van Aert takes his yellow jersey across the border into France for stage 4 on Tuesday.
Cort enjoys big day out in front of huge home crowd
Cort was allowed to gallop off the front solo from the flag drop as he went off to secure the mountains points for another day in polka dots.
The Dane enjoyed a long day at the front of the race in front of huge home crowds and relished the vibe for some 130 kilometers before the peloton chose to reel him in ahead of a fast and frantic final hour.
⛰ Just listen to that crowd… One more KOM point for 🇩🇰 @MagnusCort who secures his polka dot jersey. ⚪🔴
⛰ Quelle ambiance aujourd’hui encore ! Un point de plus pour 🇩🇰 @MagnusCort qui sécurise son maillot à pois. ⚪🔴#TDF2022 pic.twitter.com/1dq5V09p3D
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 3, 2022
Peloton soft-pedals through Sunday
The bunch enjoyed a relatively snoozy day in the Sunday sun for much of the stage.
The intermediate sprint at 90km to go saw the only flurry of action before the final gallop toward the Sønderborg sprint.
Van Aert and Jakobsen were both given a lead-out man from their teams and the Belgian scooped the points for second after Cort came through minutes before.
Sprinter teams jostled for position all day long. BikeExchange-Jayco, Quick-Step, Alpecin-Deceuninck and Lotto-Soudal all spent time muscling on the front in anticipation of a dead-cert sprint.
Mass crash at 10km to go
A second huge crash in two days awoke the peloton at 10km to go. Around 60 riders got through the pile-up. The majority of the top sprinters emerged unscathed, but a handful of GC hopefuls were caught out.
Quick-Step took it up from there onward as the bunch raced through narrowing, technical town-center streets.
Ineos Grenadiers moved up in the final 5km in the mission to prevent the spills that derailed Filippo Ganna and Daniel Martínez on stage 2 before being swamped out by leadout trains in the final kilometers as the sprint drew closer.
Jakobsen was detached from his team’s train in a tight left at 800m to go, leaving Jumbo-Visma to light up the final for Van Aert.
Groenewegen was also without teammates but marked the right wheels and kicked out of Van Aert’s draft in the final 20 meters to grab victory.
Sagan narrowly missed the podium to Philipsen after following a tight line against the barriers.
Yeah this finish is bonkers @LeTour #Stage3 pic.twitter.com/OUlXgYZ2dL
— Nate Coombs (@NateCoombs2) July 3, 2022
Up next: Another sprint, a different country
The Tour leaves Denmark for a transfer to France on Monday. Racing resumes with what looks set to be another sprint stage on the coastal port city of Calais.
Results will be available once stage has completed.