Dylan Groenewegen placed third in the fifth stage of Paris-Nice today. In the chaotic sprint to Bourd-de-Peage, LottoNL-Jumbo’s sprinter was beaten by German Andre Greipel and Frenchman Arnaud Demare. Alaphilippe remains the leader.
"It was pretty hectic," Groenewegen said after the finish. "I had no choice and had to go early. When Greipel passed me, I noticed immediately that he was stronger today. If you lose because someone is stronger, you have to deal with it. We can be satisfied with a third place in this field."
Groenewegen saw the team bounce back today after they took the wrong side of a roundabout two days ago in the sprint.
"Tuesday, we messed it up, but we put that right again,” he added. “After the climb, my team-mates brought me to the front. In the final, we have waited a long time and we stayed together.
“We always try to wait longer before we go with the sprint train. That went well today. Last year, during the Tour, we didn’t dare to wait too long. When you see how we do that now, we can be satisfied."
Groenewegen is using Paris-Nice to practice for the Tour de France sprints in four months. Also the train is working towards that, and the lead out men took a big surge ahead today.
"In this field of competitors, it was good that I placed third and we kept the sprint train on the track. We have to improve a little bit and then we can start working towards the Tour.”
"It was a lot better than Tuesday,” sports director, Frans Maassen said. “We had the good train pulling for Dylan. That was successful, but there were two stronger riders."
“It shows class that he can sprint again after his crash two days ago. I saw grinta today. He had to because this was our last chance in Paris-Nice for a sprint win. It failed, but we must be satisfied with this result."
In today’s stage, team LottoNL-Jumbo lost an important helper for Steven Kruijswijk. Stef Clement felt ill and had to leave the race.