Cycling

Groenewegen to make return from ban at Giro d'Italia

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Dylan Groenewegen (Photo by Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
Dylan Groenewegen (Photo by Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

Dylan Groenewegen will ride the Giro d'Italia, which starts the day after the end of his nine-month suspension for smashing Fabio Jakobsen into a barrier at the Tour of Poland, his team, Jumbo-Visma, said on Tuesday.

Groenewegen has not raced since 5 August when he provoked a crash in the sprint at the end of the first stage in Poland that left fellow Dutch sprinter Jakobsen with injuries that included several skull fractures.

Groenewegen has been called into the Jumbo-Visma squad for the Giro, which starts in Turin on 8 May, to replace Australian Chris Harper, who is suffering from an eye problem, the team said in a statement.

"We have decided that his place will go to Dylan," said Merijn Zeeman, the team's sporting director. "Dylan is one of our leaders, but he has not been able to race for a long time due to his long suspension.

"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.

"After nine months without racing it is the intention for Dylan to return to competition.

"He will have to find his place in the peloton after everything that has happened. That is now the priority," said Zeeman.

The team will field another sprinter, Dutchman David Dekker, and did not lay out any targets for Groenewegen, the winner of four Tour de France stages between 2017 and 2019.

"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.

Jakobsen returned to racing earlier this month in the Tour of Turkey.

"I have spoken with Fabio before he went to Turkey and it was good to see how well he did there," said Groenewegen. "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."

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