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“It was a really tough race with these temperatures and rain. Everybody was trying to keep warm. We tried to be up there in the final, but it wasn’t possible.” 

Photo: Belkin Pro Cycling Team

STEVEN KRUIJSWIJK

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TEAM JUMBO-VISMA

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TOUR OF ALBERTA

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04.09.2014 @ 14:23 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Belkin have lined up at the Tour of Alberta with the goal of taking a stage win but so far they have not had a lot of success. After a poor performance in the prologue, the team was largely anonymous on a wet stage 1.

 

Belgian Sep Vanmarcke led a cold, wet Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM across the finish line for 10th place on the rain-soaked, 143km first stage of the 2014 Tour of Alberta, Canada, on Wednesday.

Further back in the lead group, at the same time, were Belkin’s Jonathan Hivert of France, 11th, and Dutchmen Nick van der Lijke and Steven Kruijswijk, 21st and 23rd, respectively.

German Ruben Zepuntke of the American Bissel Development Team won the 36-man sprint for the stage win, holding off a late charge by Garmin-Sharp’s Ramunas Navardauskas. Dutchman Tom Dumoulin of Giant-Shimano, who finished in the lead group, retained the gold-and-white jersey as leader of the race. 
 

The stage, contested under pouring rain with temperatures hovering around 10 degrees Celsius, consisted of six laps of a hilly 28.3km circuit — with a steep, 15% climb up Stafford Drive, and a short descent before the finish — in the town of Lethbridge, near the U.S. border.


“It was a really tough race with these temperatures and rain. Everybody was trying to keep warm,” explained Kruijswijk. “We tried to be up there in the final, but it wasn’t possible.”

“The rain was constant and really, really cold,” added Belkin’s Dutch sprinter, Theo Bos, who finished 48th at :41. “Some guys were frozen in the end, myself included.”

Kruijswijk, winner of the Arctic Race of Norway last month, leads the Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM on the general classification, moving up from 23rd to 18th place overall, now 31 seconds behind Dumoulin.
 

“The general classification is not really our first priority as Dumoulin looks really strong. We want to go for stage wins,” Kruijswijk said. “Tomorrow’s weather forecast seems better, so that will be nice and we will try to win the stage. Hopefully, we can put someone in a breakaway. If it comes down to a sprint, we’ll work for Theo.”


The 2014 Tour of Alberta continues Thursday with stage 2, a relatively hilly, 145km road race through the heart of central Alberta from Innisfail, north of Calgary, to the town of Red Deer. Three tough finishing circuits in Red Deer promise to make an exciting finish.

The six-day stage raceconcludes Sunday in Edmonton.

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