Groenewegen wins Tour stage six, Pogacar retains yellow

Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen has won the sixth stage of the Tour de France, a 163.5km ride from Macon, prevailing in a tight bunch sprint finish on a photo finish.

It was a huge victory for Groenewegen's Australian Team Jayco AlUla, their first in a grand tour since the 2023 Giro d'Italia, more than a year ago.

Groenewegen, 31, let out a huge scream after beating Belgian Jasper Philipsen for his sixth individual stage win on the Tour.

But Philipsen later lost second place for moving out of his sprinting lane, meaning Eritrea's Biniam Girmay took that spot with Colombian Fernando Gaviria finishing third.

"The feeling is so amazing. The team worked so hard yesterday and I was a bit disappointed in myself," Groenewegen said.

Dylan Groenewegen
Team Jayco AlUla's Dylan Groenewegen on the podium after the sixth stage of the Tour de France. (EPA PHOTO)

"In the final kilometres we stayed calm and I went in the right moment, I was fighting for my position. I love these sprints next to each other."

Slovenian Tadej Pogacar retained the overall leader's yellow jersey after a mid-stage scare with the Burgundy vineyards in the background.

The 2020 and 2021 champion was without a teammate when defending champion Jonas Vingegaard's Visma-Lease a Bike team's brutal acceleration amid crosswinds split the bunch in two.

Pogacar was on the right side of the split but all his UAE Emirates teammates were trapped behind, before a collective effort allowed them to rejoin the front bunch 70km from the finish.

Friday's seventh stage is a 25.3km individual time trial from Nuits-Saint-Georges to Gevery-Chambertin and all eyes will be on the top guns.

Pogacar leads Belgian Remco Evenepoel by 45 seconds and third-placed Vingegaard by 50.

Last year, Vingegaard humiliated Pogacar on a 22 km time trial on his way to securing his second consecutive Tour title.

"Tomorrow is a crucial day for the GC (general classification) guys. I cannot wait to test my legs and see how it goes," said Pogacar.

Meanwhile Eddy Merckx has congratulated Mark Cavendish for dethroning him as record Tour de France stage winner.

"Congratulations Mark Cavendish for this historical achievement. Such a nice guy to break my record," the 79-year-old Belgian icon Merckx said on Instagram.

Briton Cavendish, 39, clinched a 35th stage win on Wednesday, which moved him one ahead of Merckx, who is also a five-time Tour winner. Cavendish, a pure sprinter, has not won the Tour.