Seemingly in the form of his life after two wins in two days, Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) is our Zwift Rider of the Day on stage 8 of the Tour de France. The Dutchman beat perhaps the best field he has ever faced and did so convincingly in Amiens.
With 6th and 4th places to his name heading towards the end of the race's first week while Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) traded stage wins, it looked as though it would be tough for Groenewegen to get on the top step of the podium.
Last year, his win in Paris came without those two riders, and also without Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin), Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) and Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ). To beat all of these men, plus André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) is looking like quite the step up from last July.
The victory marks the 11th win of 2018 for Groenewegen, already equalling his career high in 2016. And with wins coming at the Tour, Paris-Nice and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, they're a higher standard too.
It's not just the fact that he won either, but the manner in which he did so. There have been no big crashes, no huge slices of luck, just pure speed and positioning. On Saturday, Groenewegen had a front row seat for the argy-bargy between Greipel and Gaviria that saw the duo demoted after the stage.
He chose the German's wheel in the final, and it proved a shrewd move with Greipel shadowing world champion Sagan, who decided to go for it 300 metres out in a hectic sprint.
After following Greipel for a few more seconds as he opened his own sprint it was time for Groenewegen to lay his chips on the table, flying around the outside and outmatching everyone – even the fast-finishing Gaviria who forged his own path down the barriers.
For a man who only had seven WorldTour race days this season before heading to France, it was a win to savour.
Daniel Ostanek:It was another impressive win for Groenewegen, who has firmly staked his claim for the best sprinter in the race just as the early slate of flat finishes draws to a close. While the green jersey may be out of reach — his 132 points lie some way off Sagan's 277 — winning repeatedly against this field is a big step-up for the 25-year-old.
It's the sixth WorldTour win of his career, and it looks like a lot more will be coming his way. Reading up on Groenewegen it has been interesting to note how little he races at the top level. For example, Paris-Nice is the only WorldTour stage race he started before the Tour. Meanwhile, Gaviria, Kristoff and Greipel have all raced four already.
Hopefully, we see more of him in races of that calibre because as he proved today he's more than capable of competing there.
On stage 7 you voted for Dylan Groenewegen to win the Zwift Rider of the Day. The Dutchman livened up a largely dull day on the longest stage of the Tour, beat a class field in the sprint finish in Chartres. Riding Kristoff's wheel in the finish, Groenewegen came from an unfavourable starting position to speed past Gaviria in a head-to-head battle.
You can vote for the stage 8's Zwift Rider of the Day below. We will announce the reader's poll winner after Sunday's stage 9.
Who was your Zwift Rider of the Day on stage 8 of the #TDF2018? The choices are Groewegen doubling up, Grellier's combative ride, and Van Avermaet extending his GC lead.— Cyclingnews.com (@Cyclingnewsfeed) July 14, 2018