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"I have been thinking about all the setbacks I faced in the last years. Those make this result even more beautiful for me. The five riders who finished above me have won a big tour. I’m the best of the rest, and that’s amaz...

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BRAM TANKINK

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JOS VAN EMDEN

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LAURENS TEN DAM

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PAUL MARTENS

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ROBERT GESINK

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SEP VANMARCKE

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STEVEN KRUIJSWIJK

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TEAM JUMBO-VISMA

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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WILCO KELDERMAN

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27.07.2015 @ 00:12 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Robert Gesink placed sixth in the Tour de France, a terrific result that crowned off three good weeks. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) won the final stage. Chris Froome (Team Sky) won the overall in the race that was full of highlights and setbacks for Team LottoNL-Jumbo.

 

The nine riders from the team reflected on their race.

Robert Gesink
“I’m very proud of my performance. It hasn’t yet set in what I’ve done. I’m very tired. It was exciting until the stage to Alpe d’Huez. That stage was hard for me. I was exhausted after the last three weeks, but was able to hold on fortunately. I’m glad that it’s over. I have been thinking about all the setbacks I faced in the last years. Those make this result even more beautiful for me. The five riders who finished above me have won a big tour. I’m the best of the rest, and that’s amazing.”

Laurens ten Dam
“The story of my Tour the France is a heavy one. I’ve had an annoying race. I’m glad that I was able to finish it, but I was hoping that I was able to recover after getting ill. That didn’t happen, unfortunately. I was barely able to breathe. I dislocated my shoulder in a crash in the beginning of the Tour. I was hoping that I could play a nice role in the Alps, but I got sick afterwards. I can’t blame myself for anything, which makes it even worse. I’m glad that I made it to Paris. I’m not proud of my performance, but I can live with it.”

Steven Kruijswijk
“It has been a good Tour de France for the team. I finished it with mixed feelings. I didn’t succeed in finding the feeling I had during the Giro d’Italia, but I wasn’t in bad shape. I didn’t come through in the Pyrenees, but I was able to show something in the Alps, fortunately. I enjoyed this Tour de France, especially because of Robert’s result. The stage to the Alpe d’Huez was the highlight for me. I never climbed that mountain before and it really was special. It was great to be important for Robert in that stage.”

Tom Leezer
“I’m very glad that I don’t have to climb a mountain for a while now. The first ten days of the Tour de France went superbly for me. I clashed heavily with a car afterwards and the consequences of that crash bothered me the second part of the Tour. I was feeling well in one or two days, but I was suffering a lot. I was the hammer during the first then days, but I was the nail afterwards. That nail bent, but didn’t break. I roomed with Robert during the race, the mood was fantastic on and off the bike. I feel happy when I look back at the Tour.”

Jos van Emden
“My highlight was already on the first day. My fifth place in the opening time trial was amazing. That was the most beautiful result I’ve ever delivered in my career. It was my first Tour de France and it was a special experience. There are so many nerves in the peloton. Especially in the first week, it’s very stressful without any let up. I understand why some of the riders are saying that they’re looking forward to ride in the Tour, but that they really want to go back home once they’re there. Making it to Paris is very important for me, it gives me much satisfaction.”

Paul Martens
“I’m glad that it’s over. I reached a constant level during this Tour, but in the last Alpine stage, I had to push through my limits. I was suffering so much. I wanted to enjoy the ascent to the Alpe d’Huez, but I didn’t because my body was completely exhausted. The final of the Tour was mentally hard, but I’m satisfied with the performance I delivered. I was able to do all the assignments they gave me. Utrecht was a very big highlight. The team presentation and the opening time trial were two great experiences for our team. I don’t think I will experience something like that again.”

Wilco Kelderman
“I’m not looking back at the Tour in a good way. I crashed already in the first weekend and my back was hurting a lot afterwards. I got cold later on in the Tour. I actually didn’t feel fit during the whole race. It was about surviving for me. I was hoping that I’d be better in the end, but that wasn’t possible. I hope that I can forget this Tour de France quickly, but I realise that I made my first steps in this event. I finished the Tour the first time I was part of it, and I appreciate that. There were some beautiful moments and the team did a good job. That gave me the boost that I needed to make it to Paris.”

Sep Vanmarcke
“I was aiming for the victory in the fourth stage. I really wanted to win the stage on the cobblestones. I punctured during a decisive moment. It was just like how it was during all the spring classics. It was mentally very hard for me to recover from that setback. I was able to look ahead afterwards and did the best I could for the team. I was in the Tour to do my job for the front men and I went all the way for them. This was my third Tour, and I finished all of them. It’s wonderful to see the Eiffel Tower appear after three weeks of racing. Afterwards, you can ride around the Champs Élysées and give your girlfriend a big hug.”

Bram Tankink
“I wasn’t bad this Tour, but I didn’t feel superb either. My best part of the Tour de France was in the Pyrenees. Afterwards, I had two bad days. I was struggling with a saddle sore. That’s why I was a little skew on my bike. My left leg started to hurt because of it, my right knee as well. The last days were about survival. I never was feeling good on the bike, and that isn’t a good thing, for sure. I’m glad that I finished the Tour, though. The team worked well for Robert and delivered a beautiful result. Robert did a fantastic job.”

Sports director Nico Verhoeven
“We were handicapped already early in the Tour de France. Wilco Kelderman, Laurens ten Dam and Tom Leezer crashed heavily.  We lost two of our climbers who finished top ten in a grand tour already. That’s why everything ended up in Robert Gesink’s hands immediately. His position in the general classification was our main target during the Tour. Wilco and Laurens weren’t able to perform any more because they got sick after their crashes. That limited our ambitions to taking the initiative in the mountain stages. That was one of our goals actually. Steven Kruijswijk supported Robert perfectly. He was able to attack as well, but we couldn’t expect him to do that every day. That is the only disadvantage we faced in this Tour de France. Despite all the setbacks, we are one of the two teams that reached Paris with all the nine riders. That’s unique, and Robert’s sixth place is wonderful. The field was strong and all the top riders made it to the end. We did the maximum and this result is a wonderful one for Robert as a person.”

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