LottoNL-Jumbo’s Dylan Groenewegen again sprinted to second place behind winner Marcel Kittel (Quick Step) in the Dubai Tour today. Thanks to winning the first two stages, Kittel leads the race and Groenewegen sits second overall.
“I wanted to be first, but I have to be content with second, as Marcel Kittel was strong today,” Groenewegen said.
“I think it was possible for me to win today, but I launched my sprint a bit too early. I sprinted on the right side and I saw the Quick Step train going on my left. Had I accelerated 50 metres later, I could have won.”
With five kilometres remaining, the yellow LottoNL-Jumbo train placed Groenewegen at the front. When the sprint began, in contrast to yesterday, Groenewegen came up too early. For a moment, he seemed to have the win, but Kittel surged from behind. The German won with a wheel’s length on the Dutch champion. LottoNL-Jumbo’s Juan José Lobato placed sixth.
Groenewegen keeps the white jersey for the young riders classification that he took after placing second yesterday.
Today’s stage began in Dubai and finished after 188 flat kilometres in Ras al Khaimah. An escape group worked free and built up a four-minute lead, but was always under the watchful eye of the peloton. With only 10 kilometres remaining, the peloton engulfed them and prepared for the bunch sprint.
“We arrived a little early at the front, but we did it better than yesterday,” Groenewegen said. “Tomorrow, maybe it will go even better."
‘Another step ahead’
"We're not there yet, but we have made another step ahead,” Sports Director Grischa Niermann said. “The result is the same, but the train rode much better today."
Juan Jose Lobato rode his own sprint, which was planned by the team.
"The plan was to ride in the Tour of Qatar with Dylan and Lobato here in Dubai. Since Qatar was cancelled, the two sprinters are here now,” added Niermann. “We have discussed this plan and the riders know that they are both allowed to ride their own sprint."
"The sprint train rides for Dylan, but Lobato has to stay close and feel how it is done. He can learn to work in this way with our sprint train, which is especially good for the upcoming races where Lobato will rely on the boys. At his previous team, it was not on the agenda. Now, he needs to get used to working with a sprint train."