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Le Tour de France 2017 – Stage 21: Montgeron – Paris Champs-Élysées, 103km. Dylan Groenewegen strikes early

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Dylan Groenewegen

Former Dutch Champion, Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL) struck out early on Stage 21 and held on for his seventh win of the season after stage wins in Dubai, Yorkshire, two in Norway and two in the Ster ZLM Tour.

He’s had two sixth places, a fifth, a third and a second in this Tour but with that big hurdle called Kittel out of the way, this one belonged to him.

Andre Greipel’s (Lotto & Germany) terminal velocity was much higher but the 24 year-old from Amsterdam had the better timing and positioning over the sea of cobbles that is the Place de la Concorde.

A former winner of the u23 Ronde Van Vlaanderen he’s no pure drag strip artist and has also won races like the Brussels Cycling Classic and Ronde um Koln – he’s quick.

Dylan Groenewegen
Dylan Groenewegen. Photo©Pierre Froger/ASO

If you’re a sprinter in Le Tour then this is the stage to win – his reputation will be well burnished by this success.

We offer out congratulations to Dylan, Christopher Froome, his brutally effective team, Romain Bardet in particular and everyone who finished this monumental race.

Those late transition stages may look boring on TV but stand road side and observe the state some of these young men have ridden themselves into and it’s difficult not to have respect for every last one of them.

And to go with those noble words, here are our:

VeloVeritas Tour de France 2017 Awards

Dylan Groenewegen
Romain Bardet. Photo©Pierre Froger/ASO

“Man of the Race” Award

Romain Bardet (AG2R & France) rode himself beyond the pale; we hope to see him win this race one day.

Dylan Groenewegen
AG2R. Photo©Pierre Froger/ASP

“Team(s) of the Race” Award

We couldn’t split AG2R and Sunweb, the former for their aggression and spirit; the latter for their unflinching riding in support of Michael Matthews in green and Warren Barguil in polka dots.

And a big honourable mention to Wanty for being in all those breaks during the first two weeks, respecting the race and honouring the jersey.

Dylan Groenewegen
Warren Barguil. Photo©Pierre Froger/ASO

Lazarus “Born Again” Award

Warren Barguil (Sunweb & France) VeloVeritas cycling sage and mentor, Viktor and I are due the man an apology; two beautiful stage wins and so close to another as well as King of the Mountains – respect.

(Although marks were deducted for that abomination he rode on the last stage).

Dylan Groenewegen
Marcel Kittel. Photo©Pierre Froger/ASO

Sprinter Award

Despite the fact that we think it was a mental rather than a physical reason Marcel Kittel (QuickStep & Germany) ‘chucked it’ five stages are five stages!

An honourable mention to Michael Matthews.

Dylan Groenewegen
Nacer Bouhanni. Photo©Pierre Froger/ASO

Non-Sprinter Award

We share equally between Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis & France), Andre Greipel (Lotto & Germany) and Alex Kristoff (Katusha & Norway).

We’re just glad we’re not their pet dogs and getting that kick in the ribs when the formerly fast men get home.

Dylan Groenewegen
Team Astana. Photo©Pierre Froger/ASO

Non-Team Award

Astana, and by a considerable margin; Aru deserved much better than this.

What’s that?

How about Bahrain, BMC, Cofidis, Movistar and UAE? Were they there?

Dylan Groenewegen
Nairo Quintana. Photo©Pierre Froger/ASO

“Broken Dream” Award

Nairo Quintana (Movistar & Colombia) – Giro and Tour – what were you thinking, amigo?

Dylan Groenewegen
Louis Meintjes. Photo©Sirotti

HG Wells “Invisible Man” Award

Louis Meintjes (UAE & RSA) in the final chrono there was not one image of the man on French TV – impressive.

Dylan Groenewegen
Alejandro Valverde. Photo©Sarah Meyssonnier/ASO

“Absent Friends” Award

Alessandro Valverde (Movistar & Spain) and Peter Sagan (Bora & Slovakia) we missed you, gentlemen.

Dylan Groenewegen
Alberto Contador. Photo©Pierre Froger/ASO

“Don’t Do an Elvis and Come Back” Special Mention

Alberto Contador (Trek & Spain) let us remember you how you were in that last week, Bert.

Ciao, ciao.

Dylan Groenewegen
Rigoberto Uran. Photo©Pierre Froger/ASO

“Most Bang for his Bucks” Award

Jonathan Vaughters, head honcho of Cannondale, thanks to Rigoberto Uran (Colombia) with a stage win and a podium on a shoestring.

They top the teams cost/benefit analyses.

Uran also gets the ‘How to do it With no Team’ Prize.

Dylan Groenewegen
Chris Froome. Photo©Pierre Froger/ASO

“Storm in a Teacup” Award

Breaking a spoke is NOT a crisis or a big deal; I used to break them every week in time trials.

Luis Ocana crashing out; Bernard Thevenet dropping Eddy Merckx in the mountains; Lemond beating Fignon to win Le Tour by eight seconds in the final time trial were all ‘big deals’ – changing a rear wheel is not.

In conclusion, not a bad Tour but not a great one either.

Still, soon be the Vuelta…

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

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