Groenewegen commits to sprint opportunities at Giro d'Italia

Jumbo-Visma’s Dylan Groenewegen celebrates winning stage 3 of the 2020 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
Jumbo-Visma’s Dylan Groenewegen celebrates winning stage 3 of the 2020 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Jumbo-Visma's Dylan Groenewegen has reiterated that he'll be targeting sprint victories at this season's rescheduled Giro d'Italia in October, while his team will keep its focus on the general classification at the rescheduled Tour de France.

Even without the enforced suspension of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 26-year-old sprinter was always set to race at the Giro, which was originally due to run from May 9-31, and not at the Tour, where Jumbo-Visma's focus was always going to be – and is set to remain – on its three general classification leaders, Steven Kruijswijk, Primoz Roglic and Tom Dumoulin.

"The Giro remains my main goal. In principle, that has not changed much compared to the beginning of the season," Groenewegen told Dutch national broadcaster NOS show Studio Sport on Sunday, according to the Jumbo-Visma website.

Prior to the cessation of the season, Groenewegen had already taken three race victories, with two stage wins at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in Spain in early February, followed by a stage win at the UAE Tour later that month.

"The whole calendar has been changed, and it's going to be three busy months," he said, referring to the reworked UCI WorldTour calendar that begins with Strade Bianche on August 1 and runs through to the finish of the Vuelta a España on November 8.

"It remains to be seen in which race I will restart. That will be announced soon," Groenewegen said.

What the Dutchman already does know, however, is that during the sprints at the Giro – which will run from October 3-25 – he'll be working with a couple of different lead-out riders to the ones that he's used to.

"Normally, Mike Teunissen and Amund Jansen are my regular lead-out guys," he explained. "They will now ride the Classics and so my lead-out will be a bit different, but I'm confident that I can win with those guys as well."

While the team's full Giro line-up is yet to be announced, the team will head to Italy with New Zealand's George Bennett as their main GC hope.

For the Tour de France, Kruijswijk, Roglic and Dumoulin are set to be joined by Tony Martin, Wout van Aert, Sepp Kuss, Robert Gesink and Laurens De Plus, with the team having made the unusual step of announcing their squad for the Tour at the end of last year. Although the announcement was made ahead of the COVID-19 crisis, the squad is set to remain the same for the Tour, which has been rescheduled for August 29-September 20.

"I'm really longing to race again," Groenewegen added. "I'm missing it very much – especially being on the road with the boys, pinning on a number, the racing rhythm, etc.

"We've been lucky that we have always been able to train outside in the Netherlands," he acknowledged, "and the team's e-competition [indoor racing on trainers] was also fun and well-organised. That kept me mentally fresh."

Groenewegen continued that delivering groceries to people who weren't easily able to leave their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic in the area close to his home in the Netherlands had also kept him busy, while he'd found the time to try to improve his fast finish by analysing his sprinting successes and failures, too.

"I've mainly been analysing the things that go well, but I've also learned from things that don't go well; I'll take lessons from that. You should always keep fixating at what can be improved. That keeps me sharp and focused to win," he said.

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