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Cycling | 15 februari 2017

Groenewegen sprints to fourth in Algarve’s first stage

Dylan Groenewegen sprinted to fourth place in the Volta ao Algarve’s stage one today. The bunch raced into the streets of Lagos, where Fernando Gaviria (Quick Step) triumphed.

 

The lead-up was chaotic. Team LottoNL-Jumbo chose the wrong side of the road and lost ground.

 

"The whole day went well until seven kilometres from the finish," Groenewegen said.

 

“If we want to establish a good sprint train, we should not make such a mistake like today’s.”

 

The team LottoNL-Jumbo sprint train steered left around a traffic island in contrast to the rest of the pack that went the shorter way around the right. The train raced exposed and they quickly lost ground. Robert Wagner suffered a tyre puncture at the same time.

 

"Sure it was bad luck that Wagner punctured,” explained Groenewegen.

 

“What we showed today was not good. I think we are one of the best sprint trains here. We must, however, use it to win."

 

In the sprint, Groenewegen briefly went up front and sprinted behind Gaviria, André Greipel and Nacer Bouhanni.

 

"I eventually finished fourth and that shows that my condition is good,” he added. “Now we will have a good meeting and then on to the next sprint stage."

 

‘Quiet in the bus’

 

The Sports Director Frans Maassen saw it as Groenewegen did. It was a mistake and the team “realised it.”

 

"It was very quiet in the bus afterwards,” Maassen said. “Everyone realised that we made a big mistake. Yesterday, we reconned the final and then to make such a mistake, it’s not acceptable. At that traffic island, we should have stayed to the right and there was enough space to dive in there. The team went left, which we knew it meant that any chance of a good result was over.

 

“Our train was completely burned up soon afterwards. Leezer was able to put Dylan somewhere in the front still, but we knew that winning was impossible. It is unbelievable that Dylan still finished fourth."