Victory on stage 1 at the Eneco Tour was Dylan Groenewegen's tenth of the season and further confirmation the Dutch national champion is one the best signings LottoNL-Jumbo has made in recent seasons. The was was Groenewegen's first at WorldTour level and also sees the 23-year-old wear the first leader's jersey of the race.
"This is a milestone for Dylan and the team," sports director Merijn Zeeman said after the team won its 18th race of the season. "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.
"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," said Zeeman of the win ahead of Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) and world champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff). "Dylan Groenewegen made another step towards being a top level sprinter. He is became stronger this year and is now in top form."
While the likes of German duo Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) and Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep), and fellow fast men Arnaud Démare (FDJ) and Caleb Ewan (Orica-BikeExchange) were expected to triumph in Bolsward, Groenewegen proved to be the fastest and staked a claim for outsider status to win the rainbow jersey at next month's Worlds in Doha.
"I stayed on the wheel of Robert Wagner, and he kept me out of the wind perfectly," said Groenewegen who also leads the points classification. "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 only for seven months, but now we win at the highest level against the strongest sprinters. That makes this win special. "
Groenewegen moved across to the WorldTour team from Roompot - Oranje Peloton, winning a stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in his first outing with LottoNL-Jumbo. He then took wins at Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen and Tour de Yorkshire where he also wore the leader's jersey, before winning the one-day races Rund um Köln and Heistse Pijl - Heist op den Berg. He returned to stage winning ways at the Ster ZLM Toer GP Jan van Heeswijk then took out the Dutch title on the eve of his Tour de France debut where he finished top-ten on two stages. Following a short break he returned to the winner's books at the Arnhem-Veenendaal Classic then added a stage at the Tour of Britain last week.
The short 9.6km Breda stage 2 time trial likely to be his one day in the white jersey but there are several more opportunities for Groenewegen to add an 11th win to his 2016 haul.
"It will be the turn of the time trial specialists, but on Wednesday, we have another chance with Groenewegen," added Zeeman.
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