Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s Dylan Groenewegen sprinted to victory in the opening stage of the Eneco Tour today in Bolsward, the Netherlands. The Dutchman topped Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) and world champion, and new European champion, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff). Groenewegen, thanks to the victory, took leader's jersey and the points jersey.
A breakaway of five rode free early in the 184.6-kilometre stage. In the last 10 kilometres, the sprint teams had them and their crossed swords. Groenewegen, calm, focused on his team-mates.
"I stayed on the wheel of Robert Wagner, and he kept me out of the wind perfectly,” said Groenewegen. “We continued on the right with the Orica train coming up. I jumped on the wheel of Caleb Ewan, but he was trapped. Nizzolo jumped, and I knew I had to take his wheel and I’d have a clear sprint.
"We worked hard and came to the Eneco Tour to win a stage. It is nice that we immediately succeeded on the first day. We have worked on this sprint train for seven months, but now we win at the highest level against the strongest sprinters. That makes this win special. “
"This is a milestone for Dylan and the team,” Merijn Zeeman, the team’s sports director said. “This our first WorldTour win with this sprint train. The long straight road and tailwind made for an unpredictable finish. You don’t want to go too early, but you still have to go. Today, the sprint trains could not organise and tangled constantly. "
The Dutch team in yellow and black broke up, but their leader prevailed.
“At one point, I thought Groenewegen sat in a hopeless position, but he battled his way through. He arrived to speed at the right time and then was hard to beat.
“Dylan Groenewegen made another step towards being a top level sprinter. He is became stronger this year and is now in top form."
Groenewegen should lose the leader’s jersey tomorrow in the time trial stage, says Zeeman. "It will be the turn of the time trial specialists, but on Wednesday, we have another chance with Groenewegen."