"My big objective of the season was the Giro, I was not supposed to ride the Tour", the 24-year-old told reporters after his second place in the sixth stage gave him the overall lead for six seconds.
Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) savoured his first day in the Tour de France leader's yellow jersey on the stage 7 road to Chalon-sur-Saone and made it clear he was ready for any attacks from Julian Alaphilippe during Saturday's hilly stage to Saint-Etienne.
There was no significant movement in the overall standings.
"I had a hard start to the Tour, but yesterday I felt good again. I thought I had got away with it at the time and I didn't have any trouble when I got back into the race, no skin off or anything like that", Bevin said in a statement released by his team.
Other good performances on the day came from Briton Adam Yates, Irishman Dan Martin and Frenchman Thibaut Pinot, who grew up in the region.
On Friday, Bernal and the rest of the peloton got to know about headwinds which only extended the longest stage of the Tour.
Thomas's Ineos team mate Egan Bernal of Colombia appeared less fresh and lost nine seconds to the Briton, prolonging the status quo in the team's shared leadership.
"It was a chaotic sprint and I started my effort with 250 metres left, I just went full gas".
Spending the day in the breakaway, Ciccone mopped up much of the mountains points on offer on the Tour's first hilly stage on 2019, but still sits in second in the climber's classification, 13 points behind Tim Wellens, Alaphilippe taking 11th position.
Groenewegen beat Australia's Caleb Ewan in a photo-finish to make up for the pain of falling on stage one on the Brussels home straight.
"I was starting to blow though - it was solid - but it was a pretty decent day in the end."
This was the fourth time a Tour stage has finished at La Planche des Belles Filles, and on the three previous occasions the rider in yellow at its conclusion has gone on to win the Tour - Bradley Wiggins in 2012, Vincenzo Nibali in 2014 and Chris Froome in 2017.
Team strategy It's early days yet in the 21-stage race but Friday's stage will demonstrate how outfits are working together as teams, as they try to protect their strongest riders to bring them to the fore during the later stages.
"I stayed on Groenewegen's wheel, but then I switched to Elia Viviani's, wrong move, they shot past us", said Sagan.
The Netherlands' Dylan Groenewegen won stage seven of the Tour de France after coming out on top in a dramatic sprint to the line.