Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s Dylan Groenewegen finished second overall and won the young riders white jersey in the Dubai Tour today. He placed 10th in the last stage, 124 kilometres through the streets of Dubai, behind stage winner Marcel Kittel. Germany’s Kittel took home the overall title with an advantage of 18 seconds.
"This week Kittel was very strong,” said Groenewegen. “Maybe with a little luck I could beat him, but I still am satisfied about this week."
"It's a perfect way to start your season when you are a sprinter. I've had fun this week. The race here is nice. Especially today, the crowd was very enthusiastic and everything is well organised here."
After a quick opening phase, it took some time before riders were able to break free. After 50 kilometres, four riders did so under the watchful eye of the peloton. The main pack never let the four stray far.
Team LottoNL-Jumbo put Bram Tankink on the front in the final and working with other sprint teams, the lead diminished quickly. Meanwhile, the rest of the team gathered around Dylan Groenewegen. They brought the leader of the young rider classification forward with four kilometres to race.
In the last kilometre, Groenewegen was blocked from truly participating in the sprint. The Dutch champion successfully defended his second place in the GC and defended his white jersey.
"The lead-out was not what we wanted. We arrived well before, but did not have enough power to keep it up. With 1.5 kilometres to go, I was in 40th place and I thought it was over. I managed to get more to the front in the last corner, but then I had to brake and it was over."
The Dutch champion successfully defended his second place in the GC and defended his white jersey.
The week was a success. He finished every time in the top ten in the four stages of the Dubai tour. Twice, he was second behind stage winner Kittel.
‘The sprint train is not hundred percent yet’
"We planned to get through the last corner first, but we see that our train is still not strong enough. We can be satisfied with a second place and the youth jersey," said Sports Director Grischa Niermann.
"The sprint train is not 100% yet, but we have made another step ahead this week. Also, the new guys like Gijs Van Hoecke and Amund Grøndahl Jansen show that they can handle this level. It is now a matter of continued repetition until we really get the sprint train on track.
"You see Dylan made again another step ahead. When you place twice second behind Marcel Kittel, you certainly belongs among the top sprinters."