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Groenewegen wants more from Tour de France sprints

Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen came into the Tour de France with five wins to his name in season 2017 and considered an outside bet for a debut stage win. After four bunch sprint finishes, three won by Marcel Kittel, the 24-year-old has three top-six results but wants more.

For the second straight day, Kittel took the win with Groenewegen finishing in sixth place, this time in Nuits-Saint-Georges.

"It was a very long and fast sprint. My legs were not so good today. My legs felt quite heavy when I arrived in the wheel of Kristoff. When I finally sprinted, my legs were quite OK, so maybe I need to get up on the pedals earlier. Maybe I just need to sprint and see where it takes me," said Groenewegen, who was one of several riders to crash in the stage 1 time trial.

On his Tour debut last year, Groenewegen had three top-ten results for the entire race, and despite already notching a fifth and his two-sixth places, the Dutchman wants more.

"I want to ride a perfect sprint. Maybe I just have to think that the other sprinters are getting tired as well. You always want more and that is what we aim for. Kittel and Démare are very strong at the moment," Groenewegen said, looking ahead to stages 10 and 11. "We keep on trying and maybe that will work out. First, I have to survive the two upcoming mountain stages. Then I will sprint for what I am worth."

Leadout man Tom Leezer also provided his thoughts on the sprint finale, explaining the leadout train was partially derailed after a stressful day in the wind.

"The first kilometre after I lost Dylan, I waited. After that I dropped myself a bit from the front and searched for Dylan. I should have stayed there in the end. When I let go a bit, Dylan passed me, so I was not able to help him that way either. That was a shame," Leezer said. "With side winds and GC riders who were afraid there would be echelons. With 80 kilometres from the line, it was like war.

"In the last five kilometres, we were rocked with side winds again. That made it a very different sprint. The first part of the stage, we rode relatively easily. The last part of the stage, we definitely made up for that."

After several days for the sprinters and Groenewegen, LottoNL-Jumbo will be aiming for a stage 8 win at Station des Rousses with George Bennett, Primoz Roglic or Robert Gesink. 

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