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Dylan Groenewegen to return to racing at the Giro d'Italia

Joe Robinson
27 Apr 2021

Dutch sprinter completes nine-month ban after his part in a serious crash at the Tour of Poland

Dylan Groenewegen will make his long awaited return to the peloton at the Giro d'Italia next weekend just one day after his nine-month suspension ends.

The Jumbo-Visma sprinter was handed a nine-month ban for his part in a serious crash at the Tour of Poland last August that saw Dutch compatriot Fabio Jakobsen placed in an induced coma. 

Gronewegen has been on the sidelines since the incident serving his ban while also recovering from his own minor injuries from the crash. 

The 27-year-old was scheduled to return at the Tour of Hungary, which takes place concurrently with the Giro, followed by the Tour of Norway.

However, with the Scandinavian race having been postponed due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis and other smaller races on his return programme also potentially under question, plus initial Giro pick Chris Harper struggling with an eye condition, the team have decided to return Groenewegen at the Italian Grand Tour.

'Dylan is one of our leaders, but he has not been able to race for a long time due to his long suspension,' explained sports director Merijn Zeeman.

'We had mapped out a nice programme for him that would allow him to return to the peloton in the shadows. However, due to corona, the Tour of Norway has already been postponed and it remains to be seen whether the other races he would ride will remain on the calendar.

'With this solution we opt for more certainty, because after nine months without racing it is the intention for Dylan to return to competition.'

Zeeman continued by admitting Groenewegen 'has no race rhythm' and 'will have to find his place in the peloton after everything that happened', which is the priority.

Rather than targetting stage victories, it seems as if the four-time Tour de France stage winner will be tasked with a team leadership role looking after fellow sprinter David Dekker.

The biggest challenege for Groenewegen beyond getting round the Giro will be the mental challenge of returning to the peloton. Last year, the Dutchman revealed that he had been the victim of multiple death threats after the incident in Poland.

He told local media that the Dutch police had deployed officers to guard his doorstep after one individual posted a noose to Groenewegen instructing him to use it on his child.

'I have received many heart-warming messages after all that has happened, but I am also taking into account some negative reactions on my return. That might happen anyway,' Groenewegen said.

'I have spoken to Fabio before he went to Turkey and it was good to see how well he did there. I am very much looking forward to racing again myself too now and I am glad that I can do that in a beautiful race like the Giro d’Italia.'

Jakobsen's return to the peloton at the Tour of Turkey earlier in the month was a successful one as he helped guide teammate Mark Cavendish to four stage victories.