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"We lost an important guy for the team, but after that bad crash [Thursday], it was too painful for him to go forward. It's better for him to recover properly," Maasen says

Photo: Belkin Pro Cycling Team

DAVID TANNER

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GIRO D'ITALIA

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STEVEN KRUIJSWIJK

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TEAM JUMBO-VISMA

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WILCO KELDERMAN

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18.05.2014 @ 22:21 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

It was a tale of two fortunes for the two Belkin captains in today's ninth stage of the Giro d'Italia. While Wilco Kelderman finished sixth and confirmed that he up there with the best, Steven Kruijswijk succumbed to his injuries and left the race.

 

David Tanner of Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM went on the attack Sunday, and Wilco Kelderman defended his position against the GC favourites in an active ninth stage at the 2014 Giro d'Italia. Belkin's Kelderman confirmed again he's on level with the top favourites so far though this Giro, riding to sixth in the stage, and slotting into eighth overall at 1:44 behind race leader Cadel Evans (BMC) 

 

Tanner, of Australia, was part of a 14-rider breakaway that formed about 50km into the 172km stage from Lugo to Sestola. The hilly stage was ideal for a breakaway, and Tanner attacked out of the group with 25km to go. He opened a promising gap, but was eventually passed by stage-winner Pieter Weening of Orica-GreenEdge. 

"There were three of us, myself and Martijn Keizer and Maarten Tjallingii, who were trying to get into a breakaway today. It was a big fight. It took maybe 10 tries, but it eventually stuck after 50km," Tanner said. "We started racing hard on the last two climbs. I took a little dig, but it was a little bit too much for my level right now. Today was not the right kind of finish for me, but it wasn't for nothing. I can feel my level progressing right now, and I will be stronger for the second half of the Giro when it counts." 
 

With Tanner up the road, the remainder of Belkin draped their support around Kelderman. The young Dutch rider, starting only his second grand tour of his career, rode patiently to protect his position in the overall standings, and stayed with the leaders to take sixth on the stage at 1:08 behind Weening, and did not lose time to race leader Cadel Evans, now eighth overall at 1:44 back. 

"It wasn't easy today. That climb might have looked easy on TV, but they're never easy in the Giro. We are satisfied with how things are going so far, despite the crashes," said Belkin Sports Director Frans Maassen. "We are happy it's a rest day tomorrow. We need to survive a few stages after that, then we hope Wilco can do a good time trial [stage 12], but we will stay focused on taking it day to day." 

 

Unfortunately for Belkin, Steven Kruijswijk succumbed to injuries sustained in a heavy crash Thursday, and abandoned during Sunday's stage. Kruijswijk had difficulty steering and braking in the technical descents, and was unable to carry on. Eight riders remain for Belkin going into Monday's second of three rest days. 

"We lost Stevie today, but we knew that was a possibility. He had too much pain in his ribs and shoulders," Maassen said. "We lost an important guy for the team, but after that bad crash [Thursday], it was too painful for him to go forward. It's better for him to recover properly." 

Following Monday's rest day, the 97th Giro clicks back into gear Tuesday with the 173km 10th stage from Modena to Salsomaggiore Terme, in a mostly flat stage ideal for the sprinters. Belkin's Jetse Bol will have a chance to test his legs.

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