THE THIRD MAN

Procycling - - Le Tour -

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.

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