• LottoNL-Jumbo speedster Dylan Groenewegen. (ANSA)Source: ANSA
Dutch national road champion Dylan Groenewegen has been drawn in comparison with Aussie sprint prince Caleb Ewan after a promising season start at the Dubai Tour.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
2 Feb 2017 - 9:49 AM  UPDATED 2 Feb 2017 - 9:50 AM

Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) is unlike Ewan in physical stature or style but similar in standing as a promising fast-man, turning heads in the WorldTour.

The 23-year-old competitor is hopeful third time will be the charm on stage three of the Dubai Tour after finishing runner-up to race leader Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step) again on Wednesday.

“Dylan is a very fast guy,” Kittel said. “He’s one of the names that I have on my list when it’s about going for sprints, for finals, and I think he will show his talent for sure this year like he did last year.”

Groenewegen has demonstrated dexterity in the first two stages of Dubai and on Wednesday opened his sprint before Kittel in a messy final, having been unable to come around the German the day before.

Kittel doubles up in Dubai
Marcel Kittel was agile and sure in the face of a messy bunch sprint to claim his second consecutive stage win of the Dubai Tour on Wednesday.

“It was very fast yesterday but today I think was harder with the wind and because we went too early, so the sprint was very long. It was too much,” Groenewegen said.

“Kittel is very strong but I think we all saw we tried. I hope I can beat him, tomorrow we will try again.”

The LottoNL – Jumbo sprint train was a lot more prominent in the second stage of the Dubai Tour, as it may prove to be at the Tour de France, which is a major objective for Groenewegen this year.

Sports director Frans Maassen, who made the comparison between Ewan and his own burgeoning protégé, has said the latter is set to receive “a lot” of support in his career second start at the Tour.

“The Tour de France is a main goal and we want to go again with him, but for him, every race counts,” Maassen said.
“He’s maybe a little bit like your Australian sprinter, good in the corners and at finding his way easily in the peloton. He has a sharp sprint too. Caleb Ewan is a little bit smaller, but not so much.”

Groenewegen in his first season with LottoNL – Jumbo last year marked 11 victories across Europe, including in the Tour de Yorkshire, Tour of Britain and Eneco Tour, and was fourth in stage four of the Tour de France behind Kittel, Bryan Coquard and Peter Sagan.

“We hope to this year make some improvements in the sprint train and have some nice wins with him,” Maassen said.