Dylan Groenewegen edges competition in stage 6 sprint – Tour de France

Tour de France 2026

Stage 6

Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco AlUla) delivered a stunning sprint to win stage 6 of the Tour de France in a photo finish, beating the later relegated Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) narrowly to the line in Dijon.

A hectic run for home saw Alpecin-Deceuninck bring back their best lead-out from 2023 with World Champion Mathieu van der Poel delivering Philipsen in the ideal position to launch for the line. But exploding with more speed out of Arnaud De Lie’s (Lotto Dstny) wheel behind him was Groenewegen, who held off the Belgian with a top bike throw.

However, as Groenewegen was launching his sprint on the left, Philipsen closed Wout van Aert (Visma-Lease a Bike) to the barriers on his inside, reminiscent of the first sprint stage at the 2023 Tour and was then relegated to 107th position for an irregular sprint after the stage.

Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty) moved up to second place, maintaining his top sprinting form with third initially at the line in the green jersey but he lacked the top-end speed to match the bigger man Groenewegen. Fernando Gaviria (Movistar) slotted into third due to Philipsen’s relegation.

This was the Dutchman Groenewegen’s first win at the Tour since stage 3 of the 2022 race and his sixth career win at the French Grand Tour. It was also his first win after getting back in the Dutch national champion’s jersey in June.

“I’m really happy. The feeling is so amazing, in the red white and blue jersey – before I said it would be a beautiful picture but it was that close that I couldn’t celebrate on the finish line,” said Groenewegen who celebrated past the last with his teammates when it was confirmed he’d won.

“In the end, we grabbed it and the team worked so hard, also the last days. Yesterday I was disappointed in myself because the team did a really good job. Today we nailed it again. In the final kilometres, we stayed calm and went at the right moment. Then I got into the slipstream and I actually don’t know what happened but I was first.”

Uno-X Mobility were the best-placed team in the final kilometre after a frantic final approach saw Asatan Qazaqstan and Mark Cavendish washed out of contention for stage number 36, until Alpecin moved up with Van der Poel and Philipsen. But last year’s top sprinter at the Tour didn’t have enough for the powerful Dutchman.

“It slowed down just a little bit. It was Uno-X and Alpecin fighting for position, then I went and I think it was Philipsen was on the right and we were sprinting next to each other. I love these sprints next to each other and I beat him just on the finish line, so that’s good,” said Groenewegen.

“Yesterday I was really disappointed in myself. I didn’t even sprint. Now today we have a victory. A victory in the first week means a lot to me and also for the team. The sprint field is really strong, all the lead-out teams are really strong. I’m so proud of how we did today and hopefully, we can do it once more again.”

After a day which posed constant threats of echelons en route heading from Mâcon in the crosswinds, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) arrived safely in the bunch after another chaotic finale, despite being isolated earlier in the day in one of the splits.

The peloton passes by the vines on their way to Dijon.

It exposed a weakness in UAE’s climbing-heavy roster, as the yellow jersey rode alone in the front group until racing came back together 70km from the line, with Visma-Lease a Bike and Red Bull-Bora-Hansgrohe dominating the echelons. No damage was done to the top 10 but Visma will like what they saw in the fight for overall victory as Juan Ayuso and João Almeida struggled on the flat.

On the third proposed sprint stage at the 2024 Tour de France, kilometre zero once again brought no action, but not because the terrain didn’t suit a break as on stages 3 and 5, but because the parcours and morning’s forecast of crosswinds threatened to bring echelons.

This led to a cagey start through both the day’s first and only categorised climb, the Col du Bois Clair and the early intermediate sprint into Cormatin. Jonas Abrahamsen (Uno-X Mobility) was the most active, mopping up the singular point and kicking on momentarily with Axel Zingle (Cofidis), who lives locally to the route towards the sprint point.

They weren’t fully committed, however, and allowed the peloton to reel them back in and fight it out for the 20 green jersey points on offer. Philipsen put in an ominous long sprint to take maximum gain in the points classification ahead of Girmay and a bandaged-up Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek).

The following 60km of racing saw no breaks and no attacks but the pace remained high as the peloton was forced into a state of constant focus just in case anyone decided to split things in the wind en route from the department of Saône-et-Loire to Côte-d’Or in Burgundy.

Flags of all nations and regions lined the route and their movement signalled just what the 174 remaining riders at the Tour were so scared of. But as the group dipped through towns and open, exposed roads on the route north from Mâcon to Meursault, the speeds weren’t quite fast enough.

That was until 95.5km to go, with an important change of direction approaching in 20km, Lotto Dstny fired the first shot and tried to split things. The Belgian squad had little success but with the GC teams on high alert, the peloton headed through Chagny and began to split.

Visma-Lease a Bike and Red Bull-Bora-Hansgrohe positioned their leaders best as the peloton raced for the right-hand turn which would open the race up to a tailwind and for UAE, it was panic stations with Pogačar all alone and isolated in yellow.

Pogačar himself was strong in yellow, swapping turns with Van der Poel in the rainbow jersey as the splits formed, but it exposed a vulnerability in the rouleur department of UAE’s super climbing squad.

GC men Juan Ayuso, João Almeida (both UAE Team Emirates) and Simon Yates (Jayco AlUla) were among those who missed it, alongside sprinters Groenewegen and Pedersen, as the gap grew past 20 seconds.

The stress stayed at maximum until the 70km to go mark, where the teams in front knocked off the fury and allowed the chasing group and Pogačar’s teammates to return.

Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) also returned not long after this after an untimely mechanical and double bike change.

The fast-men dive for the line.

But the danger wasn’t up, with a left-hand turn through Pouilly-sur-Saône with under 45km to go putting the race back heading north and into the crosswinds. Speeds rose past 60kph when they reached the turn with Ineos, Red Bull and Visma best positioned again, but no on fancied kicking on past the turn itself.

A small crash occured at the back as the peloton narrowed into the turn, with Uno-X and Bahrain-Victorious worst affected. Thankfully, everyone was quickly back on their bikes and uninjured.

Small flashpoints of action came in the final 35km, with tricky corners, changing wind conditions and narrowings of the road keeping the nervousness high all day long. But with no overly long exposed sections left, the splits stopped forming in the run for DIjon.

Astana Qazaqstan looked to make it back-to-back wins for Cavendish and held position for the final 10km until they lost each other through a few sharp corners, leaving the Brit unable to contest the finale.

As they faded into the washing machine of the bunch, Uno-X Mobility and Alpecin-Deceuninck showed their strength in numbers and hit the front through the final key kinks in the road with 2km to go.

The Norwegian side started to falter and the well-oiled Belgian train being led by Van der Poel, was showing signs of its dominant best in 2023. That was until Philipsen’s kick didn’t have the same effect it was having last season and he was unable to match Groenewegen’s run to the line.

Day seven of the Tour de France sees an individual time trial between Nuits-Saint-Georges and Gevrey-Chambertin. The 25.3 kilometres long route takes in an elevation gain of 300 metres.

La Grande Boucle has never before visited Gevrey-Chambertin, while Nuits-Saint-Georges was a finishing venue in 2017. Back then, the riders came from Troyes, a race of 213.5 kilometres, and Marcel Kittel took the spoils in a photo-finish sprint ahead of Edvald Boasson Hagen.

No photo finish will be needed this time, just a clock in Nuits-Saint-Georges. The 7th stage of the Tour de France is a time trial through the rolling landscape of Burgundy.

The riders face one climb along the way. The Côte de Reulle-Vergy appears 10 kilometres into the race and goes uphill for 1.5 kilometres with an average gradient of 6.5%. The route continues to climb false flat for almost 4 kilometres before a downhill leads to Chambolle-Musigny. The rest of the route is flat.

Last year saw only one time trial, a 22.4 kilometres race from Passy to Combloux with the short and steep Côte de Domancy to pep things up. Jonas Vingegaard was on fire that day. The Dane stormed to a impeccable victory, 1:38 minutes ahead of Tadej Pogacar, with Wout van Aert in third at 2:51 minutes. Vinegegaard will need to replicate a similar performance if he is to keep in touch with the formidable Pogacar.

Stage 6 result:

1. Dylan Groenewegen (NED) Jayco-AlUla, in 3:31:55
2. Biniam Girmay (ERI) Intermarché-Wanty
3. Fernando Gaviria (COL) Movistar
4. Phil Bauhaus (GER) Bahrain Victorious
5. Arnaud De Lie (BEL) Lotto Dstny
6. Wout van Aert (BEL) Visma-Lease a Bike
7. Arnaud Démare (FRA) Arkéa-B&B Hotels
8. Alexander Kristoff (NOR) Uno-X Mobility
9. Pascal Ackermann (GER) Israel-PremierTech
10. Piet Allegaert (BEL) Cofidis, all at same time

General Classification:

1. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, in 26:47:19
2. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step, +45sec
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Visma-Lease a Bike, +50sec
4. Juan Ayuso (Esp) UAE Team Emirates, +1:10
5. Primož Roglič (Slo) Red Bull-Bora-Hansgrohe, +1:14
6. Carlos Rodríguez (Esp) Ineos Grenadiers, +1:16
7. Mikel Landa (Esp) Soudal-Quick Step, +1:32
8. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates, at s.t.
9. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Lidl-Trek, +3:20
10. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos Grenadiers, +3:21

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