The men of UAE were ready, just like those of Alpecin-Deceuninck, but it was the top favorite for the overall victory that took the six seconds. For top sprinter Kaden Groves.
In retrospect, Groves said he initially agreed not to sprint, so as not to waste energy before the final sprint. “It was mainly for the corresponding bonus seconds and not so much for the points,” said stage winner Groves. “We had agreed with the team that I would not interfere there, but I was able to grab a few points there without having to dig too much into the reserves. Best taken in the fight for the green jersey.”
Afterwards, the two protagonists still bickered about it, with Groves telling the same story as during the post-line interview. “Just say you really sprinted”, laughed Evenepoel.
“I actually wanted to make sure that none of the other classification men took seconds,” said teammate Casper Pedersen, who finished third in the intermediate sprint.
“But suddenly I saw Remco pass and then Kaden, so the seconds were all gone. It was a bit of a decision in the moment, but it worked out well. Don’t underestimate Remco’s sprint either, he is really super fast. There are still tough days to come, but taking seconds here and there never hurts. If Remco is on the same level, these seconds can play a role in the end. We are happy with every second.”