Dylan Groenewegen admitted he struggled in the opening week of the Tour but found glory on stage seven.
The Dutch powerhouse faced tight competition from Lotto-Soudal’s Caleb Ewan who gained quickly on the short uphill run that closed out the stage in Chalon-sur-Saône, but Groenewegen carried off the win.
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After heartbreak on the opening stage, as Groenewegen crashed in the final and his team-mate took the yellow jersey, the Jumbo-Visma sprinter put those struggles behind him.
“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.
“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. They worked really hard for me.”
The 26-year-old had only one top-five finish so far in the Tour de France 2019, before he powered his way forward along in the closing metres of stage seven, launching his monstrous 74km/h sprint 350 metres from the line.
Ewan threatened to steal victory and forced a photo finish, but it was Groenewegen who rode through victorious.
Groenewegen added: “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 started my sprint with 350m to go. I saw that Ewan had gone but fortunately it was enough.”
Groenewegen has shown it takes time for his legs to start firing, but when they do he is almost unbeatable.
At least year’s Tour, he took his first victory also on stage seven, but followed it up with another win on stage eight.