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"I was trying to do as little as possible. When I react to everything, I'm not strong enough. I just tried to close the gap at my own pace and then win the sprint. That's what happened. You also have to be smarter, not only str...

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BERT JAN LINDEMAN

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28.08.2015 @ 22:34 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Bert-Jan Lindeman of Team LottoNL-Jumbo delivered a hard-fought victory in the first major mountain stage in the 2015 Vuelta a España. The Dutchman attacked early in the 191km stage with four other riders, and out-dueled his rivals during long, hot 18km summit finale. Johan Esteban Chaves of Orica-Green Edge continues to lead the overall standings.  

Lindeman attacked early in Friday’s stage into Spain’s Sierra Nevada for the third time in this Vuelta, and the third time was a charm for the rider from Emmen.  

“Our goal for this Vuelta was to make an aggressive race with this young team,” said sports director Marijn Zeeman. "Today we had thought to move into the attack with Bennett, but Bert-Jan said directly that he wanted to attack, too. In the first escape of the day, Bennett and Bert-Jan where in the break but Movistar closed the gap. Moments later, Bert-Jan managed to jump into the right break-away with four other riders.”  
 

The seventh stage of the Vuelta had a difficult profile and a nearly 19-kilometer final climb. The mercury showed 37 degrees in what made the 191-kilometer long stage even more grueling.  

"It was very hot today. I knew we had to take good care of Bert-Jan. Each climb he got a new fresh bottle with cool water, “Zeeman continued. "In this heat, it is important that, in addition to drink and eat, to cool properly. The gap of the five was not a done deal. Therefore it was exciting. On the last climb, which we know from the altitude training that we do here often, Bert-Jan played it smart and he didn’t show his cards. He is the deserved winner. I said to him this is a historic day for you. It’s beautiful that it works out. This is quite nice for the staff to be part of that." 
 

On the final climb, the game of cat-and-mouse began. The five leaders were not able to play too much because Movistar and Astana were setting a high pace. Lindeman was dropped but fought his way back to the head of the race.  

"I played the game. That’s also cycling, and not only to be the strongest," Lindeman said. "I got all the support from the team. I felt I had a really good day and started to believe in my chances. Normally, Amets Txurruka (CJR) is the strongest uphill, so I was a little scared. But at some point he and I were dropped. I saw that he was really empty and then I closed the gap alone to Jérôme Cousin (EUC) and Ilia Koshevoy (LAM). Only at the very end did we know that the peloton would not come back and that we could win. Cousin crashed in the last kilometre, and Koshevoy then went full gas. I felt that I had power left, and in the last 200 meters, I could easily pass him.”  
 

 Lindeman is known as a fighter and grabbed his fourth win as a professional.  

 

"Now finally I could win. I was third in Romandie and it's great to have won at last today. This is very special," HE SAID. "It's my biggest win since I never won on the World Tour. Tomorrow I'll realise what I've done. It's always nice, the feeling of victory, but especially in an uphill stage with a lot of GC guys.

 

"In the beginning of the season, we had a lot of bad luck with our leaders but we kept fighting and now we have a victory it's very nice. We're going to try again but everything that comes from now is a bonus. We'll discuss the plans with our team and see what happens.

 

"I saw Cousain was in the wheel of the Lampre guy and I don't know if he crashed but he had his foot on the ground. Then the Lampre guy went full gas and I gave everything I had in the last 250 metres.

 

"I was trying to do as little as possible. When I react to everything, I'm not strong enough. I just tried to close the gap at my own pace and then win the sprint. That's what happened. You also have to be smarter, not only stronger. 

 

"It’s a special moment, a special day. After Vacansoleil, I was not in the ProTour anymore and I fight back and I think this is my biggest achievement yet, so I’m very happy.

 

"Sometimes you have to be lucky to be in the right break, with the good legs, and everything has to come together. Now is my day so I’m very happy. There are too many people [to dedicate this to], but especially my old team Rabobank, and this team, they believe in me, I get opportunities to go on the attack, it’s important to have a team behind you that support you so I’m very happy.

 

"I've come a long way. I was not a professional anymore in 2014, but luckily I got a new opportunity at LottoNL-Jumbo. And today I win this tough mountain stage. I've been working hard for this result. I was ten days in Davos for a training camp with Martijn Keizer. That paid off now. I am grateful for the confidence this team has in me and now we will enjoy this victory together.”

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