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“Landa was just too strong. I already knew that before the rest day. I therefore decided to take as much time as possible in the last ten kilometres, instead of fighting for a stage win."

Photo: Sirotti

GIRO D'ITALIA

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STEVEN KRUIJSWIJK

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TEAM JUMBO-VISMA

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26.05.2015 @ 19:49 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Steven Kruijswijk made a massive impact in the queen stage of the Giro d'Italia today to Aprica. The Dutch Team LottoNL-Jumbo rider placed second in stage 16 behind Mikel Landa of Astana. With his ride, Kruijswijk jumped from 14th to eighth overall and claimed the blue mountain jersey.

 

"Did Contador call me the strongest man in the race? That’s a great compliment,” Kruijswijk said immediately after the stage. “I have to say I felt very good. I’m very satisfied with my legs at the moment. Hopefully, I can benefit from it during the rest of the week as well.”

 

Kruijswijk realised that winning the stage was going to be hard, when he started the final uphill kilometres to Aprica.

 

“Landa was just too strong. I already knew that before the rest day. I therefore decided to take as much time as possible in the last ten kilometres, instead of fighting for a stage win,” Kruijswijk said.

 

His plan helped him to move into the top ten of the general classification.

 

“I didn’t expect this,” Sports Director Jan Boven explained. “The way Steven realised this is very special. He led the race from the bottom to the top of the Mortirolo. His altitude training camp is paying off now.”

 

Boven also praised the rest of the team.

 

“The other guys delivered today. Maarten Tjallingii, Martijn Keizer and Nick van der Lijke dropped off Steven at the front for the Mortirolo. The first descent of the Aprica was quite dangerous and Contador lost some time, but we were right were we had to be.”

 

Now Kruijswijk has the blue jersey on his shoulders, the team wants to hang on to it.

 

“But we continue to take things day by day. When Steven lost eight minutes, we remained calm and we’ll continue to do so. Frans Maassen and I will keep preparing the riders as well as possible for the stages. We will give Steven useful information. We must be attentive, every day.”

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