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Tour de France 2018: Dylan Groenewegen Wins Stage 7, Greg Van Avermaet Leads

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IJuly 13, 2018

Netherlands' Dylan Groenewegen reacts as he crosses the finish line to win the seventh stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France cycling race between Fougeres and Chartres, western France, on July 13, 2018. (Photo by Jeff PACHOUD / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)
JEFF PACHOUD/Getty Images

Dylan Groenewegen of Team LottoNL-Jumbo won Stage 8 of the 2018 Tour de France on Friday, beating Fernando Gaviria and Peter Sagan in another exciting sprint finish.

It's a first stage victory for the Dutchman on this tour in what is the longest stage of this year's race. The route from Fougeres to Chartres is largely flat but comes in at a punishing 230 kilometres.

Tour de France shared Friday's results:

Le Tour de France @LeTour

📊 Here is today stage Top 10! 📊 Découvrez le Top 10 de l'étape du jour ! #TDF2018 https://t.co/84opebcJwI

The early stages of the race saw a few solo breakaways as the riders made their way across northern France.

Thomas Degand was the first to make a move before being reeled back in. Yoann Offredo was next and managed to move nine minutes clear at one point.

However, the peloton had Offredo back in their sights by the 90-kilometre mark:

Le Tour de France @LeTour

🏁 - 90 km The echelon attempt condemned Offredo's breakaway. 👋 La tentative de bordure a condamné l'échappée d'Offredo. 👋 #TDF2018 https://t.co/wTR0ZKwTFd

Laurent Pichon of Fortuneo-Samsic also hit the front with 80 kilometres to go and worked hard to maintain his advantage.

The weather conditions were also proving problematic:

Le Tour de France UK @letour_uk

💨💨💨 The crosswinds are blowing & causing splits in the peloton. @MarkCavendish has been caught out in the 2nd group & his stage hopes could be dwindling. #TDF2018 https://t.co/Tdl7JwzKdt

Pichon's advantage was also wiped out as the riders headed towards the closing stages:

Le Tour de France @LeTour

🏁 - 38 km Pichon caught by the peloton. ❌ Pichon repris par le peloton. ❌ #TDF2018 https://t.co/C1GaOB86k1

The sprinters began to move into position, with Greg Van Avermaet and Tejay van Garderen at the tip of the peloton and Philippe Gilbert, Geraint Thomas and Tom Dumoulin all well-placed.

Van Avermaet managed to extend his yellow-jersey lead during the stage by winning the intermediate sprint to gain three bonus points.

The pace slowed as the riders approached the finish in anticipation of another dramatic dash to the line.

With the end in sight, Sagan, Mark Cavendish, Gaviria and Arnaud Demare all made their way to the front of the peloton as the pace began to pick up again.

It was Groenewegen who proved the strongest, as he picked up his first win since claiming a sprint finish on the Champs-Elysees in 2017.

Van Avermaet keeps the yellow jersey ahead of Team Sky's Geraint Thomas:

Le Tour de France @LeTour

📊 3 more seconds for @GregVanAvermaet ! 💛 📊 3 secondes plus pour @GregVanAvermaet ! 💛 #TDF2018 @MaillotjauneLCL https://t.co/oj5wDYHR31

There's no let up yet for the riders as they head to Dreux on Saturday, which is Bastille Day in France. From there, they will race 181 kilometres to Amiens, with another sprint finish likely.

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