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No grand tours for Dylan Groenewegen in return to racing

Dutch sprinter hopes to ‘find his place in the peloton’ after a racing ban ends in May.

Dylan Groenewegen will take it slow as he tries to return to the fast lane in the WorldTour peloton following his nine-month racing ban.

Jumbo-Visma officials Friday outlined a racing calendar for the Dutch sprinter that does not include the Giro d’Italia or the Tour de France.

Groenewegen is on the sidelines until May 7 on a racing ban in the wake of the near-fatal crash involving Fabio Jakobsen at the Tour of Poland stage 1 in August. Groenewegen closed down Jakobsen along the fences in a high-speed sprint, sending the Dutch rider crashing into the barriers.

“I hope that I can find my place in the peloton again and that I can enjoy racing again”, Groenewegen said in a team release Friday. “We have spoken a lot about that. Much has happened and we take that into account when I return. Of course, I hope to sprint for the victory again, but first, the most important thing is that I find my place in the peloton again.”

Officials have penciled in a return to competition at the Tour de Hongrie (May 12-16), and right now, there is not a grand tour on his preliminary schedule released by the team Friday.

“Groenewegen and Team Jumbo-Visma prefer a route that does not include the Tour or Giro. The Tour of Hungary and the Tour of Norway will be the first races on his calendar,” a statement read.

The 27-year-old Groenewegen has emerged as one of the most winning sprinters over the past few years, winning four stages at the Tour de France among his 53 career victories.

Groenewegen said he has taken “responsibility” for his actions during the sprint in Poland that sent Jakobsen into the barriers.

“It doesn’t feel right that I deviated from my line. I also wonder how this was possible. I certainly blame myself for that,” he said. “You try to reconstruct what you thought in full sprint. You can watch it as often as you like, but every time it is still shocking to see. Especially because of the high speed of more than eighty kilometers per hour, the impact of the crash is enormous. The chaos you find afterward is terrible. It happened unconsciously and I feel very bad about that.”

Preliminary 2021 calendar for Dylan Groenewegen

Tour de Hongrie
Tour of Norway
Rund um Köln
ZLM Tour
Dutch championship
Tour de Wallonnie
Tour of Denmark
Hamburg Cyclassics
BinckBank Tour
Gooikse Pijl
Münsterland Giro
Tour of Guangxi