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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, May 6, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

The audiobook version of The Story of the Tour de France, Volume 1 is available.

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. - Calvin Coolidge


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Dylan Groenewegen to re-start his racing at the Giro d'Italia

Editor's note: Groenewegen is blamed for causing a serious crash at the first stage of the 2020 Tour of Poland. As a result, Fabio Jakobsen was forced into the barriers during the sprint and was severly injured. Groenewegen was handed a nine-month ban for causing the crash, backdated to the day of the incident, meaning the ban ends on May 7, 2021, the day before the Giro starts.

Here's the release from Groenewegen's Jumbo-Visma team:

After nine months without racing, Dylan Groenewegen finally feels like a cyclist again. This month, the Amsterdam native will make his comeback in the Giro d’Italia. “I’m really looking forward to pinning down a number again."

“The initial intention was to start in the Tour of Hungary and then move on to the Tour of Norway. There racing is done in the relative lee. However, the Tour of Norway has been postponed due to corona. It is best for me that I make several racing days now. It was a difficult choice to choose the Giro, but I think it is the right choice. In any case, I feel ready to make my comeback and in that respect it helped a lot that Fabio is also back on the bike and that he was doing well in Turkey.”

Dylan Groenewegen

Dylan Groenewegen wins the first stage of the 2020 Vuelta a Valenciana.

Mental
The sprinter has no doubt about his sporting abilities. “The trainings are going very well. I always achieve a high level. It is also the question how I will stand my ground mentally in Italy. For the first time in nine months I am racing in a peloton again. The question is how the other riders react to me and how I react to them. I am not too concerned with peripheral matters. I will accept everyone's emotion anyway. I am really looking forward to being able to compete with the boys again.”

Motivation
The former Dutch champion on the road is still ambitious, even now that his debut in the Giro d’Italia is approaching. “I always have the will to perform well. If I feel good in the race I will certainly compete for the day’s victories. I am going to Italy full of motivation. I cannot ask for more from myself. In the second stage there is probably an immediate sprint opportunity. If I can do well there, we will certainly try. As said, a lot depends on how I will feel in the race. That is the most important thing this competition.”

Race rhythm
Groenewegen will find his place in the peloton again. “All the messages from colleagues have done me really good and have really dragged me through it. That made me feel good. I have also had difficult moments. First, of course, the incident with Fabio in Poland, a difficult pregnancy of my girlfriend, the health of our son, the death of my grandfather and the threats to my address: everything came together. Fortunately, the sense of cycling has returned in recent months. The next step is to regain competition rhythm.”

Emotional
That will happen in the Giro, which starts with a time trial in Turin on Saturday. “Personally, I always like to start a grand tour with a time trial. You can immediately put your legs on tension. You are then in the right place in the race”, the Dutchman looked ahead. “It will be in the second stage that I will talk with guys in the peloton again. Since I know that I will be riding the Giro, I really live towards being as good as possible at the first sprint appointment. If I indicate there that I feel good, then everyone in the team will be willing to give their all for me. We will only see that on Sunday. I hope I get to experience the moment of winning again soon. I think it will be a very emotional moment.”

Drive
The four-time Tour de France stage winner reckons that his presence in Italy will make loosen tongues. “I think my presence will be under a magnifying glass in the coming period. The team has also alerted me to that. We have to take it as it is and accept how everyone deals with that. For now I have to stay especially close to myself. The drive to get back to my highest level is definitely there, but I realize that this go step by step. I will need the Giro for that.”

Bora-hansgrohe reports on first stage of Volta ao Algarve

Here's the team's update:

The opener of the Volta ao Algarve was one of two chances this week for the sprinters in the bunch. Even the 190 kilometers from Lagos to Portimao were quite undulated, a bunch sprint was expected at the end of the day.

Plenty of attacks have been launch right from the gun, but it took a while before four riders formed the break of the day. In the bunch BORA – hansgrohe and Deceuninck Quickstep controlled the pace and as a result the gap to the leader never went over the three-minute mark.

With 20 Kilometers remaining all escapees were caught and the sprint preparations started. In a fast and frantic finale, a crash with 3 km to go effected the lead-out trains and unfortunately BORA – hansgrohe lost all chances there. It was Sam Bennett in the end who crossed the line first in Portimao.

Sam Bennett

Sam Bennett takes the first stage.

From the Finish Line:
"Of course I am disappointed. We invested a lot to control the race and I had good legs today. Also the uphill stretch to the line would have favored my abilities, but there was no chance to avoid the crash. I had to ride full gas for 2 kilometers to get back and then the sprint started already before the last corner. There was nothing I could have done differently. It’s a pity, we just had bad luck." – Pascal Ackermann

"Well, today we had really bad luck. We worked a lot, and the guys did a good job until the last 3 kilometers. Also there they have been positioned well, but the crash happened in the first positions of the bunch. Rudi went down, but he is ok, Pascal was on his wheel and had to stop. He was able to get back, but we lost all chances there as he had to spend all his energy. We did nothing wrong today, sometimes you just have bad luck." – Jean-Pierre Heynderickx, Sports Director

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