Dylan Groenewegen will make his return to racing at the Tour of Hungary in mid-May, five days after the expiry of his nine-month ban for causing the crash which nearly ended Fabio Jakobsen’s career at the Tour de Pologne.
The Jumbo-Visma sprinter unveiled his 2021 schedule as part of his team’s pre-season media day on Friday. Somewhat surprisingly, his program only contains 14 days of WorldTour racing in the shape of the EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg, BinckBank Tour, and Tour of Guangxi.
The 27-year-old confirmed his comeback in Hungary, which comes after he was handed the backdated ban for his role in the Pologne crash back, in November. Jakobsen suffered severe facial injuries and was placed in a coma after being driven to the barriers in Katowice and hopes to return to racing at some point in 2021, though another surgery awaits him next month.
For his part, Groenewegen said that he hopes he’ll be accepted back into the peloton upon his return to racing in just under four months’ time.
“I hope that I’ll soon be able to find my place in the peloton again and that I can enjoy racing again,” Groenewegen said in a statement released by his team. He’ll regain race rhythm with a series of smaller races, but won’t ride the Vuelta a España – realistically the only Grand Tour he’d be able to compete in.
“We have spoken a lot about that,” he said. “Much has happened, and we take that into account when I return. Of course, I hope to sprint for the victory again, but first the most important thing is that I find my place in the peloton again.”
Groenewegen also talked about the Pologne crash, which saw him veer towards Jakobsen on the fast downhill finish, causing a pileup which saw the Deceuninck-QuickStep rider fly through the barriers at the side of the road.
“It doesn’t feel right that I deviated from my line,” he said. “I also wonder how this was possible. I certainly blame myself for that.
“You try to reconstruct what you thought in full sprint. You can watch it as often as you like, but every time it’s still shocking to see. Especially because of the high speed of more than 80kph, the impact of the crash is enormous. The chaos you find afterwards is terrible. It happened unconsciously, and I feel very bad about that.”
Groenewegen will return to racing at the Tour of Hungary on May 12-16 and will also tackle the Tour of Norway in May. The Rund um Köln, ZLM Tour, Dutch National Championships and Tour de Wallonie follow in June and July, before the Euroeyes Cyclassics, BinckBank Tour, Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen, Sparkassen Münsterland Giro, and Tour of Guangxi.