Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) denied Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) on the finish line to win the final sprint of Tour de France 2017.
Groenewegen, 24, became the first Dutchman since 1988 to win on the Champs-Élysées and celebrated his first Tour stage win. Capping off a childhood dream, he only made his Tour debut last year, with fourth place into Limoges the best result of his race.
“This is amazing. I was fighting with Kristoff for the right wheel.Primoz did a great job by pulling on the front of the bunch. I came out of the turn in second place. The sprint felt like it lasted a century and I just grab it. ” Groenewegen explained of the finale. ”
“When I was young, I was looking at the Champs-Elysées stage on TV. Now I’m the winner here, it’s wonderful.”
Meanwhile, Froome rode into the streets of Paris, poised in yellow after a tough fight through to the very last Time Trial. Team Sky’s leader managed to hold onto the yellow jersey despite losing it once to Fabian Aru, and despite not having won any stages on the Tour.
“This Tour has been my toughest challenge yet. The performances of my rivals have pushed me harder than ever before,” said Froome.
“So I want to pay tribute to all the riders for their sportsmanship over the past three weeks. We race hard against each other, we suffer together but the most special thing is the camaraderie and friendship within the peloton.”
Froome has had impeccable support from his team, especially when his key teammate Geraint Thomas crashed out with injury in the first week. Team Sky showed depth with Mikel Landa who was instrumental in the high elevations, and missed the podium just by one second to Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale). Michal Kwiatkowski was also threatening most offensives in the high mountains and laid a strong challenge in the Time Trial.
Second-placed Rigoberto Urán (Cannondale-Drapac) finished 54 seconds behind Froome, and for much of the race, less than a minute separated the first four riders in the general classification. Romain Bardet and Fabian Aru often threatened but they will need to sharpen their swords if they are to lay a serious claim on the overall title in the coming Tours.
Froome has already confirmed that he will line up at next month’s Vuelta a España. It will be his third attempt at winning the Tour-Vuelta double, and he has suggested that his 2017 programme was tailored more specifically to help him in the endeavour.
Watch the highlights on the final Stage 21 of Tour de France 2017 courtesy of Le Tour de France.
Source: Cycling News