The Jumbo-Visma rider served a nine-month ban for his part in the crash that left fellow Dutchman Fabio Jakobsen with life-threatening injuries at last year's Tour de Pologne, and it seems clear that the incident will continue to cast a pall over his career for some time.
Prior to travelling to Italy, Groenewegen revealed that he had recently met privately with Jakobsen, saying that they had both "unburdened their hearts" in a bid to put the incident behind.
However, Jakobsen, who only returned to action at the Tour of Turkey last month, took to Twitter on Thursday to dispute the inference that Groenewegen had offered an apology. He also expressed disappointment that Groenewegen had disclosed their meeting publicly, adding that "further proceedings are now being taken care of by [his] legal team."
"It was a surprise for me. Most colleagues were happy to see me back in the peloton, but this comment was less positive," Groenewegen said in Turin on Saturday.
"It's hard to hear this one day before the Giro. The meeting gave me a good feeling and I think we said what we wanted to say. I didn't go into any details when I spoke about the meeting, and that's still something I want to keep confidential between us. And I am still very happy that Fabio is back on his bike."
Groenewegen also denied Jakobsen's contention that he had not taken any responsibility for his role in causing the crash that saw the Deceuninck-QuickStep rider placed in a medically induced coma. "I said several times that it was wrong to change lines in that sprint," he said.
Saturday's 8.6km time trial in Turin was Groenewegen's first race since that horrific crash last August. He had initially been slated to make a low-key return at the Tour of Hungary, but his Jumbo-Visma squad instead opted to field him at the Giro. He covered the course 1:12 down on stage winner Filippo Ganna, placing 152nd on the stage, but the result was of precious little concern.
"This time trial is not really my thing, but it's good to get some tension in my legs," he said. "Getting in your rhythm, putting on a number again, doing your warm-up, you recon of the parcours and the team meeting: it was nice to experience it all."
On Sunday, however, Groenewegen's ambitions are rather higher. Stage 2 from Stupinigi to Novara seems all but certain to end in a bunch finish and the Amsterdam native insisted that he is prepared to contest the sprint, his first since that fateful finale in Katowice last summer.
"I don't know how I will react to the race. I'll have to adjust myself and I'll have to see if I feel good in the final," Groenewegen said.
"But, normally I am mentally good and my form is good as well. The team is ready to help me into the final. And I have the intention of sprinting and I'm looking forward to it."
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