Groenewegen 'disappointed' with fourth-placed Giro finish on return from nine-month ban

Novara (Italy) (AFP) –


Dutch rider Dylan Groenewegen said he was disappointed by finishing fourth in Sunday's Giro d'Italia second stage after returning from a nine-month ban for dangerous cycling.

The Jumbo-Visma rider was suspended by the UCI for his part in a crash that left compatriot Fabio Jakobsen with life-threatening injuries at the Tour of Poland in August.

Jakobsen lost all his teeth and suffered multiple head fractures when sent flying over barriers and into a traffic sign at over 80kph when barged by Groenewegen during a bunch sprint.

The 24-year-old spent several days fighting for his life, and his manager called for Groenewegen to be jailed.

"I have to be satisfied with this fourth place after nine months of absence, though I am still a bit disappointed," said Groenewegen.

"I am a winner and I always want to achieve more. But the fourth place in my first sprint is certainly not that bad."

Belgian Tim Merlier won the sprint for the line at the climax of Sunday's 179-kilometre stage between Stupinigi and Novara.

"My legs are feeling good, so I'm looking forward to the next sprint," continued Groenewegen.

"The team did very well today. This is my first time with (Edoardo) Dekker and (David) Affini.

"That is something I have to get used to, but due to them I was placed in a very good position. The sprint went quite well and better than expected.

"Maybe I should have started earlier or maybe I should have hesitated a little less. I just have to get that old feeling back as well as my self-confidence."

Groenewegen, 27, is competing in his first Giro d'Italia having won four individual Tour de France stages during his career.