A long TV advertising feature – even though there were three breaks before the field came together and Greg Van Avermaet took seconds at the bonus sprint.
The finish and the run to the line was predictably chaotic but all stayed safe and Dylan Groenewegen made his mark for the first time, sneaking around Fernando Gaviria and then managing to outsprint the Colombian to take the stage, with Peter Sagan finishing third in what was a very bunched sprint where the inside was truly the place to be.
1 Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) 05:43:42
2 Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors)
3 Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe)
4 Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ)
5 Christophe Laporte (Cofidis, Solutions Credits)
6 John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo)
7 Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott
8 André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal)
9 Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Groupe Gobert)
10 Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data)
Another sprint finish before cobbles on Sunday and not a whole lot in the route. There are two categorised climbs but the Côte de Pacy-sur-Eure and then the Côte de Feuquerolles are just Category 4 climbs before the sprint in Loeuilly, and then it’s a pretty uncomplicated run through to Amiens, when things get tricky for the leadout trains and their sprinters.
The route enters Amiens via the University campus, before taking a sharp set of turns. The lead-out trains must navigate the rue Jean Moulin, and rue Saint-Fuscien before a roundabout that is taken on the right to head past the station and there is then a bend to the left onto rue Vanemarcke; there is then one last chance to get organised on the run to rue des Francs-Muriers, and the last left-hand turn before 600 metres of straight and the finish.
Dylan Groenewegen came right back to his best to win yesterday and proved that this isn’t just a show between Fernando Gaviria and Peter Sagan, although those two are dominating the green jersey battle.
Today’s finish is all flat with no drag, but the same names should be involved once again. Gaviria, on a purely flat surface with the best lead-out, will be favourite to make it three although now Gonewgen’s in the mix. A note for Cofidis and Christian Laporte, the team have been active and he’s been sprinting well, and he was ahead of Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) yesterday with Greipel again not quite hitting the right notes.
Mark Cavendish finished 10th, something that sounds like a footnote, but Dimension Data were working for him and he was in a much better position before the road began to rise steadily – perhaps not to be counted out today.
Nothing. People didn’t even boo him.