Tour de France #8: Cavendish 8th in chaotic sprint finale

Dylan Groenewegen (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) made it two in a row when he sprinted to the victory on stage 8 of the Tour de France today. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) was 2nd and John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) placed 3rd.

It was another standard sprinters stage at the Tour de France with a flat run of 181km between Dreux to Amiens making up the route. The early break of the day initially consisted of 3-riders but it soon became 2 as Fabien Grellier (Direct Energie) and Marco Minnaard (Wanty Groupe Gobert) pushed on.

While the gap got up and over the 5-minute mark, it was never a real concern for the peloton as the sprint teams knew they could reel the duo back in before the finish Amiens, which they did with 10km to go.

Our African Team was again focused on delivering Mark Cavendish into a a good position for the sprint finale. Our white and green Dimension Data colours were prominent fixtures near the head of the peloton from 35km out, using all 8-riders to hold our place.

The drag race for the finish really sped up with around 20km to go. It was tight and stressful in the peloton and this saw a big crash occur in the pack with 16km to go. Being well placed at the front, our Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders were unaffected by the crash.

Coming into the final 5km, our sprint train was in full flight once again but a tricky right hand corner with 3km to go disrupted proceedings. Through the corner Cavendish had been detached from his leadout train but found the wheel of Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) for the finale.

Groenewegen benefited from Gaviria and Greipel bumping in front of him and catapulted past the duo to take the victory. Cavendish was unable to find a clear gap to launch his sprint, so for the 2nd day in a row our Manxman crossed the line 10th but was moved up to 8th after Greipel and Gaviria were relegated by the comissaires.

Reinardt Janse van Rensburg – Rider
It was another flat and long day in the saddle with not a lot happening for a large portion of the stage. Only two guys were upfront in the break so it ended with a big final sprint as we had hoped. The team did a good job, we kept to the front the last 15km and avoided the crashes and carnage behind us. In the end Mark (Cavendish) was maybe too far back after that final corner, but I haven’t actually seen what happened yet so it is hard to say. I think the team did a good job though and this was the last sprint chance for a while. Its on to the Roubaix stage tomorrow and then into the mountains.