Groenewegen, riding his new Giant Propel Advanced SL with a CADEX 65 WheelSystem, navigated the hectic closing kilometers and powered to a close, photo-finish victory on Stage 3 of the three-week grand tour in Sønderborg, Denmark.
The 29-year-old Dutchman joined the squad at the beginning of the season, and winning a Tour stage was one of his main goals for this year. The win marked his fifth career Tour victory and a return to form with his first WorldTour win in two years.
After the race, Groenewegen credited the people around him for helping to get him back to the top step of the podium at the Tour. “I have to say thanks to my team, and to my family and friends to bring me back to the Tour in good shape,” he said.
The 182km Stage 3 from Vejle to Sønderborg was mostly flat and played into the hands of the teams with the best sprinters. Early in the race, Danish rider Magnus Cort went out on a solo breakaway, putting on a show for the throngs of home fans as he took all of the day’s KOM points to extend his time in the polka dot jersey.
Following the day’s final KOM climb with 53km to go, the sprinters’ teams took control. Cort was soon caught, and Team BikeExchange-Jayco stayed at the front, battling for position to set up Groenewegen for the finale. The Dutch rider was disappointed in his finish on the previous day’s Stage 2, which also ended in a bunch sprint, and the team was determined to come back strong.
“Yesterday didn’t go as we wanted it to, but you’ve got to move on quickly,” said Team BikeExchange-Jayco head sports director Matt White. “That’s the secret of achieving anything in life and sport. The boys didn’t flinch at all after yesterday and they gave 100 percent commitment to Dylan.”
Groenewegen had to navigate a hectic final 10km, then make a perfect move to edge out some of the world’s fastest sprinters including Wout van Aert, Jasper Philipsen and Peter Sagan, who finished second through fourth respectively.
“Yesterday I was a little bit angry at myself,” said Groenewegen. “Today, we were a long time boxed in, and I was also involved with a crash a bit with nine kilometers to go. But [the team] brought me back into position, we stayed calm. In the end, I was on the right side, Amund brought me into a really good position on the left corner, I struggled a little bit in the left corner, but at the finish line it was enough and I still can’t believe it.”
Looking ahead, the riders have a day off for travel on Monday as they leave Denmark and head to France. The three-week race picks back up on Tuesday with Stage 4, a hilly, classics-style 172km route from Dunkerque to Calais.