Groenewegen seizes first bunch sprint victory of season in Valenciana

Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) started his first stage race of the season as he had ended his last one, with stage victories, this time with a powerful bunch sprint victory in the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.

The winner of a stage in his final race of 2018, October's Tour of Guangxi, Groenewegen has hit the ground running again in Spain, four months later.

The double 2018 Tour de France stage winner was unaffected by a big crash in the last kilometre of the Spanish stage race, given he was already among a front group of 15 or so riders, and he was able to come off Nacer Bouhanni’s wheel for his first victory of the season in front of Valencia’s town hall.

After a difficult second stage where he was dropped on a third category climb, victory on the final day had a special satisfaction for the Dutchman. It was also his second stage victory at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, after he won a stage back in 2016 - the first edition of the ‘revived’ race.

"It was a hard final, with a lot of corners. I was a bit far back on the last corner," Groenewegen told reporters afterwards. "But I could make my jump at the good moment.

"It’s the first win of 2019 for me, and the first for the team too, so that’s really good and now I can look forward to the next races."

Groenewegen’s next race will be Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, where he hopes, again, to take advantage of his team’s visibly strong presence in the final kilometres of the early season sprints.

"This was an important race for me because we’ve been looking to work on the lead-out train," he pointed out. “We’ll be concentrating very hard on the sprints for me this year, and this was a great opportunity to try and get a victory."

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Alasdair Fotheringham

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The IndependentThe GuardianProCycling, The Express and Reuters.