Dylan Groenewegen was relieved on Wednesday after the first stage in the Tour of Valencia. The rider of Jumbo-Visma had a difficult start to the mass sprint, but thanks to a nice comeback he still booked his first stage win of the season.

"It was a reasonable catch-up race, but it no longer matters how you win," said a satisfied Groenewegen in Villarreal finish place at the NOS . "As a sprinter you feel the pressure to perform at the start of the season and then it gives peace if it works out right away. That pressure is now a bit off."

The 26-year-old Groenewegen was the top favorite for the stage victory, although he was not well ahead in the final phase of the 180-kilometer stage. The Amsterdammer had to come from far in the mass sprint, but eventually pushed his wheel just a little earlier than countryman Fabio Jakobsen of Deceuninck-Quick-Step.

"It was a bit of my own fault that I was too far, I should have given more instructions in the final", Groenewegen admitted. "The team was very strong today, but we still have to get in touch with each other a little bit. Fortunately I had enough room to sprint. I know I can get very far."

Dylan Groenewegen narrowly beat Fabio Jakobsen in the sprint. (Photo: Getty Images)

"Have had a very good winter"

Groenewegen will drive its first course of the season in Spain this week. In the run-up to the Giro d'Italia, the sprinter will also participate in the Tour of the United Arab Emirates (end of February) and the Tirreno-Adriatico (March).

"I am not really at the top level yet, but the legs and the team are good. I had a very good winter and also the training internships went great. We can use the strength of the team even better, but the first victory is in and that is very tasty. "

The Tour of Valencia continues on Thursday with a hill stage of 181 kilometers from Torrent to Cullera. The Spanish stage race, which was won by Ion Izagirre last year , lasts until Sunday.

See also: The cycling calendar of 2020