Groenewegen defends ‘I can never be a servant’ statements

Dutch sprinter claims earlier comments about never wanting to act as a support man were taken out of context.

Dylan Groenewegen has been quick to defend himself after he appeared to make a series of brash comments implying an unwillingness to ride in the service of others.

The Jumbo-Visma sprinter spoke to Het Parool Friday discussing his absolute focus on victory and inability to accept second best, whether in a fast finish or in the team pecking order.

“I can never be a servant, my honor is too great for that,” Groenewegen said. “You won’t see me doing a sprint for a teammate. Then my career is just over.”

Sprinters thrive on success, and 26-year-old Groenewegen’s words to the Dutch outlet embodies that through-and-through. Having risen to be one of the top sprinters in the modern peloton alongside the likes of Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal), Groenewegen spoke of his bloody-minded pursuit of glory, saying “if winning is no longer successful, I will no longer enjoy it.”

Groenewegen told Het Parool that he would rather hang up his cleats and retire or mold himself into a classics rider if the sprint success dried up –  but only with the caveat that he would lead his team. “As a servant you are already satisfied with loss in advance,” he said. “I don’t know that state of mind.”

However, only a few hours after Groenewegen’s feisty comments were published Friday morning, the Dutchman made a U-Turn, claiming on Twitter that his words had been taken out of context:

“Great work to twist some pieces like that may be said! NO I cannot find myself in this piece! I would always do everything to win with the team Jumbo-Visma,” reads the tweet.

Groenewegen’s main goal for the restarted 2020 season will be a run at his first-ever Giro d’Italia while his team focusses on its GC ambitions at the Tour de France. However, it seems that the Dutchman would be happy to race anything he’s given.

“I don’t care where and how, as long as I can race again,” Groenewegen is quoted as saying to Het Parool. “Then the victories will follow automatically. ”