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CALAIS, France (VN) – Dylan Groenewegen echoed what the cycling world was thinking at the finish of stage 4 of the Tour de France. “Wout van Aert was too strong for everyone,” he said.
The winner of stage 3 of the 2022 Tour de France could not add another victory in Calais, distanced by Jumbo-Visma’s team display of force on the Cap Blanc-Nez, ten kilometres from the line.
“We thought before that it’s going be a hard stage, but it was possible to make it a bunch sprint,” the BikeExchange-Jayco rider said.
“And a chance for a small group to make it. But when I saw the peloton was split, my legs were really empty. Wout was flying on the climb.”
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While other sprinters were briefly dropped over the short, sharp final climb, Groenewegen was the only fast man of note who didn’t make it back into the bunch, finishing 122nd, 1:33 behind Van Aert.
Still, Groenewegen already has his stage win in Sønderborg to fall back on. “It’s not a shame [because] the third stage was really good. Today the team was really impressive, but my legs were not.”
Like much of the peloton, thoughts turn to the cobble-filled fifth stage between Lille and Arenberg Porte du Hainaut. “It’s again a hard stage, again a good stage for Van Aert,” Groenewegen said.
“We have a really strong group for this kind of races: big boys like Mezgec, and “Bling” [Michael Matthews] to do something.”
Groenewegen is no stranger to the cobbles, finishing three editions of Paris-Roubaix. His best finish was 44th in 2018. “You never know for me,” he added. “Maybe there is a chance, but it’s not a big one.”