Three years after his last win at the Tour de France, Dylan Groenewegen claimed his fifth stage victory as he successfully sprinted in Sonderborg, beating Wout van Aert, Jasper Philipsen and Peter Sagan in a tight finish.
It makes it a three out of three for riders from Benelux in the Danish stages as a Dutchman took over from Belgians Yves Lampaert and van Aert, emulating Jan Raas and Walter Planckaert who captured the first three stages in 1978. Van Aert will take the Maillot Jaune with him to France.
MAGNUS CORT FROM THE GUN
176 riders started stage 3 in Vejle at 13.13. Polka dot jersey wearer Magnus Cort (EF Education-Easypost) attacked from the gun. Nobody followed him. He reached an advantage of 6’40’’ after 20km of racing. Mikkel Honoré for Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl seized the reins of the peloton to set a steady tempo, later relayed by veteran Philippe Gilbert for Lotto-Soudal. Sprinters’ teams maintained the difference around three minutes for most of the race while Cort enjoyed extending his lead in the KOM classification at Koldingveg (km 27) and Heljsminde Strand (km 82), both cat. 4 climbs in which he took one more point.
VAN AERT FIRST OF THE PELOTON AT THE INTERMEDIATE SPRINT
Cort passed the line of the intermediate sprint at Christianfeld (km 90) 1’45’’ before the peloton. Wout van Aert won the sprint of the bunch with Fabio Jakobsen closing in third place, so the Belgian extended his lead in the points classification. Following that effort, the time gap went below one minute (55’’) but the pacers of the pack decided to slow down and let Cort alone in the lead for some more kilometres. The Dane took the sixth and last KOM point up for grab in the stages held in his country and extended his lead in the climbers’ competition. He was reeled in with 52km to go after 130km at the front by himself in front of an enormous crowd.
FIFTH TOUR DE FRANCE VICTORY FOR GROENEWEGEN
There was no breakaway attempt for the remaining of the race. Successively, Alpecin-Deceuninck and Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl led the bunch in the run in to the bunch sprint after a crash divided the peloton in two parts. All the top sprinters were up there. Michael Morkov was in perfect position in the final 800-metre long straight line but Fabio Jakobsen had lost his wheel, so it was Christophe Laporte who gave the perfect lead out to van Aert. Peter Sagan tried to pass on the right side but the gap was in the middle of the road so Groenewegen who had a great top end speed at his disposal chose the right path to his fifth Tour de France victory (after his successes in 2018 and 2019). It’s his big come back after the horrendous crash of the 2020 Tour de Pologne that involved him and Jakobsen, the first two bunch sprint winners.
Dylan Groenewegen: "Every victory at the Tour de France is special, not only this one"
“I crashed with 9km to go but the team brought me back. Amund Groendahl Jansen put me in a perfect position even though I got boxed. He’s very strong. He was my team-mate before at Jumbo-Visma. He went full gas for me. I took a lot of wind and my legs were tired but I still had enough to sprint to the line. Wout van Aert always joke, saying that if you are not sure of having won, you still claim the victory and you celebrate. That’s what I did. I understood I won from the sport directors screaming in the car. Then I found my father. He follows me for three weeks but usually I don’t see him and today he was there, right in front of me. It was special to share that moment with him and make him happy too. My family supported me greatly after what happened [the crash at the 2020 Tour de Pologne that resulted in a ban for him]. My new team has put a lot of faith in me and a great train to lead me out. Every victory at the Tour de France is special, not only this one.”