THE THIRD MAN
A t what point will the cycling world realise that in the noise surrounding the much-anticipated rivalry between up-and-coming sprinters Fernando Gaviria and Caleb Ewan, the most successful young bunch finisher in the peloton might actually be Dylan Groenewegen? The Dutchman will turn 25 on June 21st this year, so he’s a year older than Gaviria and Ewan, who both turn 24 this summer. But unlike them he’s actually won a Tour stage – the most prestigious of all, on the Champs-Elysées in 2017. He’s also won more races this year than Gaviria and Ewan, with eight victories as we went to press, and like Gaviria, his strike rate is high – he’s contested 10 sprints this year, with a second and a 10th place to add to his wins.
Groenewegen is flying in 2018, and while his Lotto NL-Jumbo team have GC options in Primo Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk, they will go to the Tour with the intention of supporting Groenewegen in the sprints. There’ll be a lot of talk about Ewan and Gaviria versus the old guard of Cavendish, Greipel and Kittel in the sprints, but you get the sense that would probably suit Groenewegen just fine.