As our colleagues over at VeloNews report, Dylan Groenewegen’s surprise signing with BikeExchange came about as it became clear that his chances of racing the Tour de France with Jumbo-Visma were slim.
The 28-year-old Dutchman, who is departing from Jumbo-Visma earlier than expected, signed a three-year deal to join BikeExchange starting next season in a move that was announced on Saturday. Groenewegen did not score any Grand Tour wins in his 2021 campaign, which only started in May after he came back from a suspension for causing the crash at the 2020 Tour of Poland that left Fabio Jakobsen seriously injured, but he counts four Tour de France stage wins on his career palmares and prior to his suspension was seen as one of the very fastest finishers in professional cycling.
For a team to let such a talent go may seem an unusual move, but in this case, it does make some sense, with Jumbo-Visma laser-focused on the GC battle at the Tour and thus less willing to set aside space on the Tour roster for Groenwegen and only potential domestiques. BikeExchange, on the other hand, has been without a top-flight pure sprinter since the departure of Caleb Ewan, with the versatile Michael Matthews an occasional winner in the sprints but most effective on hillier days.
As BikeExchange manager Brent Copeland told VeloNews, the team jumped at the opportunity to sign Groenewegen when it became possible.
“We had heard that Dylan was keen on the Tour, and we have open opportunities to give to a rider of his characteristics,” Copeland said, according to VeloNews. “We got talking to Richard Plugge at Jumbo-Visma, and they were open to the discussion and taking it forward. With the incredible support from Gerry Ryan, and he was keen to make it happen. That’s where the negations started to pick it up and we got it done.”
At BikeExchange, Groenewegen can likely expect his team to be more dedicated to supporting his sprinting ambitions at the sport’s biggest race.
You can read the full story over at VeloNews if you are a subscriber.