2024 Tour de France Stage 6: Bike Throw Nets Groenewegen the Win

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TOUR DE FRANCE 2024 | STAGE 6 | MÂCON > DIJON

In a turn of events that surprised literally no-one, it was the sprinters who dominated the proceedings in stage 6. The race entered Burgundy on the roads from Mâcon to Dijon, where the Tour returned after a 27-year hiatus. The Dutch national champion, Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco–AlUla), edged Jasper Philipsen at the line. The Belgian came up one place short of victory for the second day in a row, with Biniam Girmay in third. Groenewegen picked up his sixth Tour stage win, his first since stage 3 of the 2022 edition in the Danish city of Sønderborg. It was also the sixth Tour bunch sprint in a row that went to a different rider. The day went by without a breakaway worthy of the name, but scattered showers and relentless crosswinds kept the riders on their toes throughout the 163.5 km course. After narrowly dodging a crash on Wednesday, Tadej Pogačar had another scare today when Jonas Vingegaard’s teammates managed to split the peloton with 82 km to go. The leader found himself as the sole UAE Team Emirates representative in the 50-strong lead group, but it all came to naught when the second group managed to reconnect about 10 km down the road. It was another close shave for the Slovenian, who will start the first time trial in the yellow jersey tomorrow.

04/07/2024 – Tour de France 2024 – Étape 6 – Mâcon / Dijon (163,5 km) – ROGLIC Primoz (RED BULL – BORA – HANSGROHE) – Photo © A.S.O./Billy Ceusters
04/07/2024 – Tour de France 2024 – Étape 6 – Mâcon / Dijon (163,5 km) – HALLER Marco (RED BULL – BORA – HANSGROHE), CAVENDISH Mark (ASTANA QAZAQSTAN TEAM) – Photo © A.S.O./Billy Ceusters

The bunch set out from Mâcon —the home town of the poet Alphonse de Lamartine and the footballer Antoine Griezmann— at 1:52 pm. Mads Pedersen, draped in bandages after a nasty spill in the run-in to the finish of the previous stage, soldiered on, keeping the peloton at 174 riders ahead of the 163.5 km long stage 6. No-one made a move as soon as the flag dropped, but the pace was high from the get-go, with the top favourites, including the fellow in yellow, Tadej Pogačar, vigilant at the front. It was an obvious sign that the main contenders were on edge about the moderate crosswinds set to batter the peloton almost without respite across the Saône-et-Loire and Côte-d’Or departments.

04/07/2024 – Tour de France 2024 – Étape 6 – Mâcon / Dijon (163,5 km) – Photo © A.S.O./Billy Ceusters
04/07/2024 – Tour de France 2024 – Étape 6 – Mâcon / Dijon (163,5 km) – POGACAR Tadej (UAE TEAM EMIRATES) – Photo © A.S.O./Charly Lopez

Every little helps for Abrahamsen

The king of the mountains, Jonas Abrahamsen (Uno-X Mobility), upped the pace on the Col du Bois Clair, the only climb of the day, coming 9 km into the stage. Axel Zingle (Cofidis) was glued to his wheel but failed to stop the Norwegian from going over the category 4 ascent in first place and padding his lead in the mountains classification (26 points, six ahead of Pogačar). The two men pressed on over the top, bringing their margin over the peloton to 1′15″ before sitting up in the run-in to the intermediate sprint in Cormatin, 31 km into the stage, where Jasper Philipsen took top points. The Belgian outsprinted Biniam Girmay, who became the first ever African rider to wear the green jersey this morning, and Mads Pedersen.

04/07/2024 – Tour de France 2024 – Étape 6 – Mâcon / Dijon (163,5 km) – ZINGLE Axel (COFIDIS), ABRAHAMSEN Jonas (UNO-X MOBILITY) – Photo © A.S.O./Billy Ceusters

Pogačar isolated for a split second

The peloton chugged along until Lotto Dstny tried —and failed— to force a split in the peloton. In the end, it was the European champion, Christophe Laporte (Visma | Lease a Bike), who managed to blow up the pack with 81 km to go, at the exit from Puligny-Montrachet, right when Mark Cavendish suffered a puncture. The yellow jersey, Tadej Pogačar, found himself alone in the first group on the road after all his teammates were caught napping, but the peloton reformed 70 km from the line.

04/07/2024 – Tour de France 2024 – Étape 6 – Mâcon / Dijon (163,5 km) – POGACAR Tadej (UAE TEAM EMIRATES) – Photo © A.S.O./Billy Ceusters

Groenewegen takes it in a photo finish

The tension in the peloton was so thick you could cut it with a knife, so the leaders clustered at the front of the race to avoid any nasty surprises before letting the fast men duke it out in sunny Dijon, where the Tour had last called in 1997. Alexander Kristoff’s Uno-X Mobility sprint train led the charge under the red kite, but Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco–AlUla) derailed it to take the first stage win by a reigning Dutch champion since Léon van Bon triumphed in Tours in 2000. The photo finish did not lie: Groenewegen was the winner, while Jasper Philipsen had to settle for second, as he had done in Saint-Vulbas yesterday.

04/07/2024 – Tour de France 2024 – Étape 6 – Mâcon / Dijon (163,5 km) – GROENEWEGEN Dylan (TEAM JAYCO ALULA) – Photo © A.S.O./Billy Ceusters

Pogačar: “It was a Rather Stressful Day”

Tadej Pogačar: “Today was a great example of how the Tour can get ugly even when the wind isn’t blowing too hard. It was a rather stressful day. At the end of the day, I was happy the stage wasn’t too long. I already recced the time trial a long time ago. I must say I love this course, it’s a fantastic time trial. It’ll be fast, but aerodynamics alone won’t cut it, you need some oomph too. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. I see Remco as the clear favourite. He’s the world champion and has shown time and again that he can beat anyone he likes. He’ll be the man to beat tomorrow, but I think I can do well too. Of course, he’s a serious contender for GC. I think he’s had this goal in mind since December.”

04/07/2024 – Tour de France 2024 – Étape 6 – Mâcon / Dijon (163,5 km) – POGACAR Tadej (UAE TEAM EMIRATES) – Photo © A.S.O./Billy Ceusters

Evenepoel: “I Can’t Wait For Tomorrow”

Remco Evenepoel: “Today went fairly well. It was windy, but my team kept me in the right place. I stayed focused throughout the four-hour stage. It was pretty nervy out there. Tomorrow’s time trial course [between Nuits-Saint-Georges and Gevrey-Chambertin] isn’t too far from Belgium, so I managed to recce it between Christmas and New Year’s, and I popped back for another look a few days ago. The course suits me well. I can’t wait for tomorrow. We’re gunning for victory. As the world time trial champion, I’ll be giving it my all for the stage win, but also with an eye on a strong position in GC, where I’m hoping to make some waves.”

04/07/2024 – Tour de France 2024 – Étape 6 – Mâcon / Dijon (163,5 km) – EVENEPOEL Remco (SOUDAL QUICK-STEP) – Photo © A.S.O./Billy Ceusters

Groenewegen: “It Was So Close I Couldn’t Celebrate It On The Line!”

Dylan Groenewegen: “I’m really happy. The feeling is so amazing and to do it in the red, white and blue jersey, I said it would be a beautiful picture, but it was so close I couldn’t celebrate it on the line! I know my legs are fantastic. Yesterday I was a bit disappointed with myself because the team did a really good job. Today we nailed it again. In the final kilometres, we stayed calm and I found the right moment to go. I don’t know exactly what happened, but I was first! Jasper Philipsen was a tough nut to crack today, but we pulled it off in the end. It’s really important to us. I love these rough sprints. There are loads of great sprinters this year, it’s hard to win and, of course, even harder in the Tour, the biggest race on Earth. And now, Uno-X Mobility and Alpecin-Deceuninck have amazing trains. Almost everyone has a great train. You need to get it down to a T. And I’m mighty proud of what we did.”

04/07/2024 – Tour de France 2024 – Étape 6 – Mâcon / Dijon (163,5 km) – ABRAHAMSEN Jonas (UNO-X MOBILITY) – Photo © A.S.O./Billy Ceusters

TOUR DE FRANCE 2024 | STAGE 6 | MÂCON > DIJON | DAILY STATS

23: GROENEWEGEN, AN ORANJE STAR

Dutch riders are very much used to shining in the Tour de France, with a first stage win in 1936, when Theo Middelkamp triumphed in Grenoble, and a 167th thanks to Dylan Groenewegen in Dijon. The Team Jayco-AlUla sprinter is the first reigning Dutch national champion to win a stage of the Tour de France since Léon van Bon powered to victory in Tours in 2000, 23 years ago.

59: A BLAZING PACE THROUGH THE WIND

The flat roads from Mâcon to Dijon (1,035m of elevation) witnessed an eventful stage due to the 20-km/h crosswinds blowing from the west. Dylan Groenewegen claimed victory after 163.5 km covered at an average of 46.3 km/h. Attempts to build echelons were essential to achieve this high average speed. The peloton momentarily split at km 83, with Dylan Groenewegen and Jasper Philipsen caught behind. For the next 5 kilometres, the first part of the bunch went flying at an average of 59.0 km/h according to the NTT Data trackers!

2: PEDERSEN IS A FIGHTER

On the day after a nasty crash at 62.4 km/h (according to the NTT Data trackers), Mads Pedersen got back on his bike, with several bandages and with an intact fighting spirit. The Dane sped up to 67.6 km/h in the intermediate sprint and went on to collect the most combative rider award for the second time of his career, two years after his successful breakaway towards Saint-Étienne. None of the other riders identified as sprinters in the peloton of the Tour de France 2024 ever collected this award. Wout van Aert, who can do about anything on his bike, is the participant with most combativity awards: 5.

5: EVENEPOEL SHINES IN WHITE

As the best young rider since day 2, Remco Evenepoel has now claimed five white jerseys. He’s still far from Tadej Pogacar’s record of 72 consecutive jerseys from stage 13 of the Tour 2020 until stage 21 of the Tour 2023… But he just needs one more jersey to match Egan Bernal’s run of six days in white before Pogacar’s rise to power. Considering Belgian rising stars, Evenepoel moves past Wout van Aert’s record of 4 consecutive white jerseys in the Tour 2019. The last Belgian youngster with a longer streak is Wilfried Nelissen, with 7 stages in 1993.

24-25: POGAČAR MOVES PAST HINAULT AND GETS CLOSE TO ANQUETIL

With a 25th Maillot Jaune, Tadej Pogačar still trails Jonas Vingegaard, who claimed 27 in the last two editions of the Tour de France. But when it comes to the jerseys claimed at 25 years old or less, the Slovenian star is moving up the ladder, one step above Bernard Hinault (24), and matching François Faber’s record (25 days last he leader of the Tours 1909, 1910 and 1911, before the inception of the Maillot Jaune). If he keeps the lead all the way to Nice, Pogacar will have 40 Maillot Jaune… Eddy Merckx had 43 before turning 26. Pogačar is also up to 24 Grand Tour leader jerseys in 2024. One more, and Pogačar will match Jacques Anquetil’s record from 1961 and 1964. Merckx dominates this ranking as well, with 32 jerseys in 1972 (17 Maillot Jaune, 15 Maglia Rosa).

1-2-3: VIVA GIRMAY

Already a stage winner (in Turin, stage 3 of the Tour 2024) and a 3rd place finisher (in Bordeaux, stage 7 of the Tour 2023), Biniam Girmay has now completed his set of top-3 results with a place of 2nd in Dijon. The first African leader of the points standings will wear the green jersey for one more day.

 

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