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Thursday, 04 July 2024 20:16

Dylan Groenewegen wins stage six of Tour de France after photo finish.

By Ben Collins.

Dutch rider Dylan Groenewegen clinched victory in a thrilling photo finish to win stage six of the Tour de France, as Tadej Pogacar kept his grip on the yellow jersey.

The flat 163.5km route from Macon to Dijon was always likely to end in a bunch sprint, following Mark Cavendish's record-breaking victory a day earlier.

But the British rider, 39, finished out of contention in Thursday's sprint and was unable to add to Wednesday's 35th stage win on the Tour, which took him clear of Eddy Merckx for the outright record.

Team Jayco–AlUla's Groenewegen, 31, made a late surge for the line to beat Jasper Philipsen by little more than a wheel trim.

That gave Groenewegen the sixth stage win of his career and his first since 2022, his first year with his Australian team.

Alpecin-Deceuninck's Philipsen was later relegated to 107th place for shifting his line and blocking Wout van Aert during the the final 150m.

There was no change at the top of the general classification standings so Pogacar remains the leader, 45 seconds ahead of Remco Evenepoel, with defending champion Jonas Vingegaard five seconds further adrift in third.

Astana Qazaqstan's sporting director Mark Renshaw said after Cavendish's win on Wednesday that coming into this year's Tour, which is expected to be the Manx Missile's last, the team felt that Thursday's stage would be his best opportunity to clinch the record.

Having sealed the deal on stage five, it means Cavendish now has the chance to increase his record before finally calling it quits.

With just one climb on the stage, it promised to be a relatively straightforward ride through the vineyards of Burgundy, and so it proved for the most part.

Cavendish did show some frustration after the first of two stoppages because of mechanical issues, but he managed to safely rejoin the peloton long before it picked up the pace rolling into Dijon.

He was well placed before the Uno-X Mobility team hit the front but Astana started to fall back with less than 2km remaining and, as the race entered the 800m dash to the line, Cavendish had drifted out of contention.

Mathieu van der Poel led out team-mate Philipsen, who then hit the front before Groenewegen - sporting sunglasses that feature an aerodynamic beak - and stage three winner Biniam Girmay came back at the Belgian.

Philipsen looked to have held them off but it needed a photo to split them, which showed that Groenewegen had timed his lunge for the line to perfection to win it by little more than the width of his wheel trim.

Philipsen was later penalised for forcing Van Aert to slow down as they raced along the barriers.

The race continues on Friday with an individual time trial over 25.3km from Nuits-Saint-Georges to Gevrey-Chambertin.

Stage six result

1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned/Team Jayco-AlUla) 3hrs 31mins 55secs

2. Biniam Girmay (Eri/Intermarche-Wanty) Same time

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 Demare (Fra/Arkea-B&B Hotels)

8. Alexander Kristoff (Nor/Uno-X Mobility)

9. Pascal Ackermann (Ger/Israel-Premier Tech)

10. Piet Allegaert (Bel/Cofidis)

General classification standings

1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) 26hrs 47mins 19secs

2. Remco Evenepoel (Bel/Soudal-Quick Step) +45secs

3. Jonas Vingegaard (Den/Visma-Lease a Bike) +50secs

4. Juan Ayuso (Spa/UAE Team Emirates) +1min 10secs

5. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Red Bull-Bora-Hansgrohe) +1mins 14secs

6. Carlos Rodriguez (Spa/Ineos Grenadiers) +1mins 16secs

7. Mikel Landa (Spa/Soudal-Quick Step) +1min 32secs

8. Joao Almeida (Por/UAE Team Emirates) +1min 32secs

9. Giulio Ciccone (Ita/Lidl-Trek) +3mins 20secs

10. Egan Bernal (Col/Ineos Grenadiers) +3mins 21secs.