Published: Wed, July 18, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Groenewegen crushes his rivals to take second win on Tour

Groenewegen crushes his rivals to take second win on Tour

Gaviria was boxed in by Greipel in the final 200 metres and the Colombian appeared to headbutt his rival´s lower back in retaliation.

Greipel and Gaviria crossed next, but their results were disqualified after they dangerously jockeyed for position in the final meters, though they both keep their times.

It saw Slovakia's world champion Peter Sagan, who also has two stage wins, elevated to second.

Briton Geraint Thomas is now two minutes behind in the general classification, while four-time victor Chris Froome and Adam Yates trail by a further minute.

Olympic champion Van Avermaet got into an early breakaway and held on to increase his lead over Geraint Thomas, a Sky teammate of defending champion Chris Froome, to 2 minutes, 22 seconds.

Froome recovered quickly to rejoin teammate Thomas but the Team Sky riders had fallen nearly seven minutes behind Van Avermaet and the breakaway group.

The Dutch cyclist outlasted Andre Greipel and Fernando Gaviria to finish the mostly flat 181-kilometer (112-mile) stage - which started in Dreux in northern France - in 4 hours, 23 minutes and 36 seconds. It comes before the three-week race faces one of its most hard legs when it hits the tricky and occasionally treacherous cobblestones.

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No clear favorite has emerged from the opening block of racing as all the top riders, with the exception of Richie Porte, are still in contention on the first rest day before grueling stages in the Alps.

Despite having Sky teammates at the front of the peloton, once Froome got a wheel from teammate Jonathan Castroviejo, he was left all alone for several minutes until Wout Poels eventually dropped back to help him get back.

Van Avermaet won the single-day cobblestone Paris-Roubaix race in 2017.

"It was some steep climbs and we were really expecting it to pick up somewhere but it never really materialised", Thomas said. That's a great place for us to be in and Geraint is right up there with the other GC guys.

Bahrain Merida's Ion Izaguirre would finish second on the stage.

Around 95km from Chartres the peloton split in a cross wind, trapping Thursday's stage victor Dan Martin (Team Emirates) in the second group.

Froome is in sixth place and 3:21 behind Van Avermaet.

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