Dylan Groenewegen sprinted to win his first grand tour stage in the best way, on the closing stage of the Tour de France in Paris, on the Champs Élysées. Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s Dutch sprinter bolted to the front with 250 metres remaining and held it to the line.
Team LottoNL-Jumbo celebrated its second Tour de France stage victory of 2017 after Primoz Roglic’s Galibier solo move and the eighteenth victory this season.
“This is amazing,” said the emotional 24-year-old after his win. “I was fighting with Kristoff for the right wheel. Before that, Robert, Paul and Tom kept me out of the wind.
“Primoz did a great job by pulling on the front of the bunch. I came out of the turn in second place. The sprint felt like it lasted a century and I just grab it.
“This is a beautiful day for a win like this. We had loads of critics, but on the most important day for sprinters, we prove we can do it. We won on the Champs-Élysées, that is unbelievable.”
In 2016, Team LottoNL-Jumbo started to work on a sprint train for Groenewegen and took him to that year’s Tour. The goal was to win a stage 2018, but hope increased for 2017 thanks to the fast progress the train made. The victory rewards the Amsterdam cyclist and the team for the effort that they invested in the project.
“We started sprinting in this Tour with sixth and fifth places, then it went to third and second places,” Sports Director Nico Verhoeven said. “We became hopeful for the last sprints.
“We had to do it on the last day. Our job was to deliver him in a good position in the last turn. All the guys did a superb job and Dylan finished that off fantastically.”
Verhoeven and the team began with “high hopes” already when the Tour kicked off in Düsseldorf.
“We wanted to win with Primoz in the time trials, but it did not work out because of a crash in Düsseldorf, caused by the bad weather, and bad luck in Marseille yesterday.
“Robert Gesink’s crash and abandon after a week was a huge disappointment. George Bennett was in the top-10 for a few days, but then slowly dropped out. It turned out he was unwell and had to abandon the Tour, as well.
“Primoz’s and Dylan’s wins gave us the big highs we wanted. With all these experiences, we can make the next step.”