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Tour de France 2024: Groenewegen pips Philipsen in photo finish to win stage six – as it happened
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Tour de France 2024: Groenewegen pips Philipsen in photo finish to win stage six – as it happened

Tour de France stage and all anyone around these parts remembers him for is going over his handlebars during a 2007 Tour stage after accidentally hitting a labrador pup.Tour de France. He becomes the third different rider to win in three different sprint stages in this year’s Tour.

  1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 26hr 47min 19sec

  2. Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) +45sec

  3. Jonas Vingegaard (Team Visma/Lease A Bike) + 50sec

  4. Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) +1min 10sec

  5. Primoz Roglic (Red Bull Bora-Hansgrohe) +1min 14sec

  1. Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco AlUla)

  2. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck)

  3. Biriam Girmay (Intermarc he-Wante)

The Dutchman wins stage six in a time of 3hr 31min 55sec, while Mark Cavendish failed to finish in the top 10.

That was tight: Sprinting up the left-hand side of the road, Groenewegen came off Arnaud De Lie’s wheel and had the Belgian, Biniam Girmay and Jasper Philipsen inside him with about 30 metrers to go.

He powered forward and won on the throw in a photo finish from Philipsen, who was on the right side of the road. The Eritrean was between them in the centre of the road in third. Neither Groenewegen nor Philipsen knew who had won but it’s the Dutch rider who gets the prize today.

For those wondering, Mark Cavendish wasn’t in the shake-up and we’ll find out what happened there soon enough.

I think the Dutch Jayco–AlUla rider has won on the throw from Jasper Philpsen but my word that was tight. Biniam Girmay was third. Yes, Groenewegen is confirmed the stage winner.

500m to go: Uno-X are still in front as the home straight opens up in front of the field.

2km to go: It’s all go with assorted team trains who are having coal shovelled into their engines at great speed. The Uno-X Mobility team of Kristoff might actually run out of lead-out riders – they’re burning matches at a rate of knots.

3.6km to go: Sam Bennett and Mads Pedersen are also in good positions near the front, as is Alexander Kristoff. All three riders are surrounded by teammates.

4km to go: Chapeau to Biniam Girmay and his teammates, who have got the green jersey into a good position on the left side of the road. Mark Cavendish is in a similarly good position on the right.

6km to go: Marijn van den Berg of EF Education-Easypost is back on his bike but has lost a minute.

7km to go: There’s a crash and several riders in the pink jerseys of EF Education-Easypost go down.

8km to go: In the green jersey, Biniam Girmay is way back in the field with no teammates around him. He’ll have to go some to win the stage from here.

10km to go: The peloton pass under the kites signifying that all hell is about to break loose in the front two thirds of the bunch. The turquoise livery of Astana is visible on the right-hand side of the road, towing the race along. Cavendish is five wheels back, at the side of the road.

12km to go: On Eurosport, former sprinter Robbie McEwan explains that with 1.9km to go in today’s finish, the riders will have to swing right before negotiating a diagonal turn left just 300 mertres later. “That’s going to be a serious pinch-point and that’s why the lead-out riders will be so important today,” says the Australian.

14 min: “With 22km to go I clicked on ‘show key events only’; the whole race coverage disappeared,” writes Alistair Johnson.

17km to go: “Congrats to Cav on yesterday’s victoire and here’s hoping he gets a couple more wins before the race is out to really leave Eddie M in the peloton of history,” writes Andrew Benton. “Now I’m wondering about another record – that of which Guardian writer has blogged more kilometres on the Tour over the years? For Wimbledon it’s got to be Daniel Harris on games and hours, but the Tour responsibilities seem more widely spread amongst the writers.”

I reckon I’ve got to be in with a good shout but won’t be clocking up too many kilometres this year, due to Euro 2024 being on at the same time. I’ve been churning out this drivel for nearly 20 years and could be thousands of kilometres ahead of my nearest rival. It’s a great palate-cleanser after a long football season, even if uneventful days like today can be a bit of a grind.

18km to go: Mark Cavendish’s Astana Qazaqstan teammates are on the left side of the peloton at the front of the bunch, with their lead sprinter a few wheels back.

22km to go: The peloton remains resolutely intact as the sprinters’ teams get their ducks in a row ahead of what should be an intriguing sprint finish. Can Mark Cavendish extend the record he broke yesterday by winning his 36th stage or will somebody else grab the chance to hog the headlines?

One suspects that Jasper Philipsen, Arnaud De Lie, Dylan Groenewegen, Biniam Girmay, Fabio Jakobsen, Wout van Aert and Alexander Kristoff will all fancy their chances.

33km to go: It’s the nervy calm before the storm of the churning washing machine into which the peloton will be transformed as the stage reaches its knockings. Various riders emerge from the front of the bunch to receive bidons from team assistants, as a succession of empties are sent arcing through the air from the middle of the bunch towards the roadside. They’ll make nice souvenirs for the kids – and in some cases adults – scurrying to collect them.

38km to go: “UAE don’t seem to be covering themselves in glory as a team,” writes John Westwell. “All ending up in the second group when the split occurred, then having to chase back, seems to be a rookie error on a stage where crosswinds had been predicted at the start. And following on from the dissent between Ayuso and Almeida on the Galibier on Tuesday, it doesn’t reflect well on the team.

“Geraint Thomas said on his podcast that he thinks that Almeida and Ayuso don’t get on from what he’s seen of them in the peloton. And Ayuso sprinting to get third place in Valloire, after the rest of the team dropped off to ride in at a steady pace and save energy after the Galibier summit, suggests he’s got one eye on his own placing on GC rather than putting all his efforts into Pogacar’s win.

”It might be interesting to see how this subplot develops.”

44km to go: There’s been a crash near the back of the bunch as the riders negotiated a pinch-point and somebody clipped the barriers. It’s nothing serious and all involved reclip their cleats and get going again. Jonas Abrahamsen was one of them, along with a few of his Uno-X Mobility teammates. I think only one of them actually hit the deck but there are no injuries.

46km to go: Tmorrow’s stage is an individual time trial that’s a little over 25 kilometres in length. Here’s what race director Christian Prudhomme has to say about it.

“Great wines for great riders!” he writes. “But before venturing into the heart of the vineyards, the time trial specialists will spend almost two-thirds of this time trial on forest roads. The climb of the Côte de Curtil-Vergy (1.6km at 6.1%), which comes in the final section, will test their tolerance to pain. On the face of it, there shouldn’t be any big gaps between the best riders, but who knows?”

48km to go: We’re inside the final 50 kilometres and there’s not much going on at the moment but things will perk up in due course. The peloton is rolling along at 51km per hour, so we’ve less than an hour to go until the finish.

56km to go: Mark Cavendish has dropped out of the bunch again for a planned bike change, according to the chaps on Eurosport.

61km to go: Comparative serenity has descended on the peloton once again after that brief bit of wind-induced excitement.

68km to go: “I’m a new to watching the Tour (largely because I’m ill with covid at the moment),” writes Will. “Can you explain to me why this stage will probably not be exciting or feature any breakaways? Are there tactical reasons for this, or is it just that many of the riders are knackered from all of yesterday’s intensity?”

Well Will, first things first: I hope you get well soon. I’ve had covid twice and it’s not much fun. I just remember coughing a lot, being really tired all the time and not being able to concentrate on anything for more than two minutes.

The flatness of today’s stage means that it was always likely to finish in a sprint finish, but usually on days like these you’ll have a breakaway of kamikazee riders who invariably get caught within a matter of kilometres or centimetres from the line. Occasinoally on such days, the peloton will misjudge the chase and somebody from the breakaway wins, but those victories are few and far between. Indeed, we had one on stage one of this year’s Tour. The last 20 kilometres of today’s stage will be interesting, don’t worry about that.

71km to go: And relax. The gap between the two bunches has been closed and the peloton is reunited. Well, not quite: Cavendish is about 50 seconds back.

72km to go: Mark Cavendish is being closely policed by the race adjudicators at the back of the field and has been given a telling-off for drafting behind his team car. He’s not happy!

75km to go: Race leader Tadej Pogacar is in the front group but all of his teammates are in the second one. It’s not necessarily a problem for the maillot jaune, but it could become one if he has a puncture or a fall. The race leader’s team should not have allowed that to happen.

78km to go: There is a conspicuous, 27-second split in the peloton and anyone in the second bunch could struggle to get back to the one in front. If any GC notables have been caught out, the lads in the front bunch could seriously punish them. Sadly, Mark Cavendish is in the second group as he suffered a mechanical at the worst possible time.

80 km to go: The peloton is stretched, thy’re back out in the exposed countryside and there’s a light breeze. Tadej Pogacar has moved to the front of the bunch and is putting in a shift in the hope of creating a split.

80km to go: The peltoon is strung out like your nan’s washing, about 500 metres in length as the riders negotiate the narrow streets of a small town.

“As a New Zealander who has finally come to France, I’m really enjoying watching this live on TV at 3.40pm rather than 1.40am!” writes Emma.

84km to go: The peloton is moving with a lot more urgency, with the various GC teams fighting to hold their positions at the front of the bunch as they turn right off a motorway and are funneled through a small village. Ben Turner (Ineos) is at the front with Wout van Aert (Visma) .

95km to go: “Cav turning up today and not doing a [Mario] Cippoloni and retiring to the beach for the summer, has set the stage for more thrilling heroics at the finish line,” writes Bill Preston.

“Is it ever going to be possible for his record to be beaten? Some one is going to have to get a proper stomp on early in their career to be in with the slightest of chances. I suspect William Fotherington has covered all of this much better than I, though. His books are excellent, and it was a pleasure. To chat to him earlier this year about Paris Roubaix.” Yes, William is always good company and has forgotten more about cycling than most of us will ever know.

I believe that when he was embraced by Tadaj Pogacar at the end of yesterday’s stage, Cavendish implored the Slovenian not to break his new record. The current race leader is 25 years old and has won 12 stages of the Tour so far (with quite a few of the current Tour to go). At the end of the Tour he rode at the age of 25, Cavendish had 15 wins to his name.

96km to go: Between the one small climb and the intermediate sprint, I’ve literally had two jobs to do so far today and in all this excitement, with so much going on, I completely forgot to do one of them. Here is the full result of the intermediate sprint …

  • 1. Philipsen 20 pts

  • 2. Girmay 17

  • 3. Pedersen 15

  • 4. Démare 13

  • 5. Coquard 11

  • 6. De Lie 10

  • 7. Bennett, 9

  • 8. Teunissen 8

  • 9. Rex 7

  • 10. Godon 6

  • 11. Van Poppel 5

  • 12. Hindley 4

  • 13. Naesen 3

  • 14. Roglic 2

  • 15. Onley 1

98km to go: “There really ought to be a special jersey for Cav,” writes Neil Moss. “You can’t have the all-time stage wins leader in a regular trade team jersey, can you? Thirty-five gold polka dots?”

That’s not a bad idea, although he might need a 36th gold polka-dot added to tomorrow’s jersey.

100km to go: Riding pillion on a motorbike at the back of the race for Eurosport, another German former cyclist, Jens Voigt reckons we can look forward to another 60 or so kilometres of this meandering nothingness before teams start trying to get their ducks in a row for the inevitable washing machine of a sprint finish.

106km to go: In case you’re new around here, I can reveal that neither Marcus Burhardt nor the dopey dog that wandered out in front of him were hurt in that crash, although the collision made short work of the German cyclist’s front wheel.

109km to go: With over 100 kilometres to go and nothing whatsoever happening, it seems to early to have to break the glass and reach for the tried and trusted Marcus Burghardt-hitting-a-dog video. Like the interview with Cavendish, that also happened in 2007. What a vintage year for cycling that was …

Source: theguardian.com