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"Last year I was looking for confirmation that I could do it. In the Giro I failed but the Tour went well. That was tremendously good for me to see. It was a confirmation that I have eft all the misery behind me."

Photo: Belkin Pro Cycling Team

STEVEN KRUIJSWIJK

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NEWS

TEAM JUMBO-VISMA

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30.10.2014 @ 14:02 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

At just 23 years of age, Steven Kruijswijk finished 8th in the 2011 Giro d'Italia. One month later he also won a mountain stage in the Tour de Suisse and finished third overall. A wonderful career seemed to be in store for the Dutchman but physical problems set him back. A risky surgery has made Kruijswijk fully fit again and he can finally look optimistically to the futre. "I have had confirmations that I have left all the misery behind me."

 

In August 2013 a short message appeared on Steven Kruijswijk's website. He was not going to ride the Vuelta, it said. "The reason is the return of an injury in my groin artery which makes my ambition to ride for a good GC result unrealistic." Instead of riding the Vuelta, Kruijswijk went under the knife. Again because he had already had surgery on his groin artery in 2008. This time it was about a narrowing of his femoral artery which made it impossible to use power on the bike. The injury was the reason for his poor performances by Kruijswijk.

 

For Kruijwijk, the surgery was not necessary. He could live without an opeartion but would have to accept that he would never reach his top level. He refused to do so and agreed to go through the procedure which was not without risks. The goal was clear: Kruijswijk wanted to get back to climbing with the best as he did in 2011 at the Giro and the Tour de Suisse, preferably as soon as possible.

 

The surgery went well and Kruijswijk was fit at the start of the 2014 season. But Kruijswijk quickly learned that there is a big difference between "fit" and "top form". He had hoped to do well in the Giro but after a crash he had to abandon on stage 9. Hence, the doubts remained. Could he still reach his best level? The answer was yes as he learned during the Tour de France. Even though he mainly rode in service of Bauke Mollema and Laurens Ten Dam, he finished 15th overall.

 

"Last year I was looking for confirmation that I could do it," he told Wielerflits in an interview. "In the Giro I failed but the Tour went well. That was tremendously good for me to see. It was a confirmation that I have eft all the misery behind me." 

 

Kruijswijk refers to the the Tour as the turning point of his year. 

 

"I was hoping to already be good in the Giro. Because it didn't wok out there, the Tour was so beautiful. Finally, I could again ride with the best." 

 

With the physical problems behind him, he can look ahead with optimism.

 

"It is very nice that I now no longer have to worry about my physical condition. This year I went into the spring looking for confirmation. Next year that is no longer necessary."

 

Kruijswijk almost feels better than ever. 

 

"I am at the top level that I had in 2011. I hope to be so again in 2015 and to do even better. A major goal is to have a good result in a grand tour. I will focus on the Giro and the Tour, wth the Giro being a great opportunity to ride for a good GC result. This will be my first peak of the year."

 

Kruijswijk will be the leader of the new TeamLottoNL-Jumbo in the 2015 GIRO before he goes to the Tour to ride in service of Robert Gesink, Laurens Ten Dam and Wilco Kelderman.

 

"I really want to be there too," he says. "Especially considering the course with the start in Utrecht. Such in your home country is something you want every year. I really look forward to it. Especially now when we have a beautiful, genuine Dutch team at TeamLottoNL-Jumbo. With our collaboration with the skaters, we will be the biggest sports team in the Netherlands outside of football. We hope to reach a lot of people and get a lot of support."

 

Last Thursday Kruijswijk's mew team was presented in Utrecht. One day later he boarded a plane.

 

"I am going on vacation in South Africa. I will enjoy it. Then we will quietly start our training. In early December we have the first training camp. I am really looking forward to the new season."

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