Caleb Ewan says if he was in Dylan Groenewegen's position it would be hard for him to rejoin the peloton.
The Jumbo-Visma sprinter is currently banned for the incident at the Tour of Poland where he caused Fabio Jakobsen to crash into the barriers during the sprint finish, leaving his compatriot in intensive care. Groenewegen's backdated ban means he will be able to return to racing from May 7 2021.
"The first thing I am going to say, when you decide to be a sprinter, you know sprinting is not the safest thing in the world. Every sprinter you see has accepted that. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a 10-lane road, sprinting is going to be dangerous," Ewan told the media before departing for a pre-season training camp.
"I think it will be hard for him to come back into the bunch, not because of other riders, but because of himself. Maybe he will be a little more nervous than he was before. He was dominant in the way he was sprinting. I don’t know Dylan so well, maybe he’s a guy it doesn’t affect him so much and it will be business as usual. Maybe he could be a very sensitive guy, and it will never be business as usual for him again. I really don’t know him that well to comment on that.
The Lotto-Soudal star says that for him it would not be so easy to come back, especially after all the criticism Groenewegen has faced on social media.
"If it was me, it would be quite mentally hard to rejoin the bunch. You have seen on social media, you see a lot of negative stuff about him, that would also be hard."
With some space now between the hectic rescheduled 2020 season and the peloton, Ewan reflects that the blame for incidents such as the one caused by Groenewegen largely lies at the rider's door.
"Generally, the crashes are because of the riders, not because of the barriers. If you crash into the barriers it is usually because another rider has moved you into the barrier. I’m not scared of barriers. If anything, you’re scared of other riders moving in a way that you wouldn’t want them to. It’s been the same since I was a junior. There are always going to be riders who are going to come off their line. They’ve become a lot more strict on that the last few years about riders coming off their line.
"If you go down the barrier with a small gap, you know there is a risk if the rider comes off his line, you might end up in the barrier. All sprinters have taken that sprint in their careers. That’s just part of sprinting. If you crash into a barrier, it’s probably not going to be great."
As for Ewan's 2021, two more Tour stage wins last season haven't sated his appetite for victory, as he prepares to line up for all three Grand Tours. "My big goal for 2021 is to win stages in all three grand tours in one year. There haven’t been too many people who’ve done it in the history of cycling, so that’s my big goal," Ewan revealed.
"Sometimes it seems like a good idea at the beginning of the season, but after the Tour, the thought of riding the bike again can be a bit daunting. If I can get through the Giro and the Tour with wins, then I will seriously consider doing the Vuelta."
Not satisfied with aiming for three Grand Tour stages in a single season, the Australian also wants to challenge for the green jersey at the Tour de France after Sam Bennett (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) broke Peter Sagan's (Bora-Hansgrohe) stranglehold on the points classification last year.
“If it’s there, it’s something I will look at. There are a lot of sprints in this year’s Tour, and it is something that I will think about," Ewan said. "I was waiting for a Tour with a lot of sprints when I won’t have to chase the intermediate sprints, and I can pick up points in the final sprints."
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