For the second day in a row at the Tour de France, it was all smiles at the Deceuninck-QuickStep team bus as the Belgian powerhouse took another victory. Elia Viviani delivered the goods on stage 4 in Nancy, leaving a host of sprinters, including Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma), disappointed once again.
But if Sagan was unhappy with his race so far, he didn't show it after the stage. The six-time green jersey winner, bidding for his seventh maillot vert this year, chose to focus on the positives instead, including the multiple chances at victory – maybe five or six – that remain.
"I am OK," he said. "I didn't crash, I still have the green jersey. Why do I have to be disappointed?
"It's only been three stages and one team time trial. There's a lot of stages left, you know?"
Sagan took Alexander Kristoff's (UAE Team Emirates) wheel as the sprint was launched but couldn't come around the Norwegian and had to settle for fourth place on the line.
The Slovak retains the green jersey for another day, but with Viviani winning and beating him at the intermediate sprint, the Italian now lies just 23 points back. When asked about his chances of wearing it on the final podium, Sagan kept it simple: "That's why I'm here."
While the Bora-Hansgrohe leader hasn't encountered any bad luck thus far, it has been a different story for Groenewegen. While his Jumbo-Visma team have enjoyed a near-perfect start to the race, the Dutchman will be annoyed at letting two chances to win get away.
On stage 1 in Brussels, he hit the deck late on, missing out on the sprint, which was surprisingly won by teammate Mike Teunissen. Between dropping away early on during Jumbo's stunning TTT win and finishing fifth in Nancy, it's clear that Groenewegen is working himself back to 100 per cent.
"I couldn't make it clear what I wanted [in the final]," said Groenewegen after the stage. "We should have kept to one side of the road, but I had to communicate that. We lost each other.
"I'm not happy with my result but I'm happy with my team's performance. But I'd say mostly in the final was where I went wrong so it's my fault."
Groenewegen was surfing wheels in the final kilometre after the breakdown of the Jumbo sprint train, launching from outside the top ten to sprint to fifth. In context, it was a positive result, but there's more work to be done if he's to match his two-win haul from last year's Tour.
"To make good choices," was Groenewegen's reply when he was asked what he needed to improve. "I am not at 100 per cent today, and it's clearly not what I want in a final.
"I hope that I have some good nights – if I can sleep really good and maybe then I'll [be] back. We'll see."
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Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Prior to joining the team, he had written for most major publications in the cycling world, including CyclingWeekly, Rouleur, and CyclingTips.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France and the spring Classics, and has interviewed many of the sport's biggest stars, including Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, Demi Vollering, and Anna van der Breggen.
As well as original reporting, news and feature writing, and production work, Daniel also runs The Leadout newsletter and oversees How to Watch guides throughout the season. His favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Volta a Portugal, and he rides a Colnago C40.