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"I look at it day by day. When I can continue to perform around a top five in the stages then a top ten is possible. But again, I want to take it day by day."

Photo: Sirotti






24.05.2015 @ 19:45 Posted by Andy Pedersen

LottoNL-Jumbo captain Steven Kruijswijk fought his way to a great fifth place in the difficult mountain stage to Madonna di Campiglio. Kruijswijk won time on his rivals and moved up seven places from 21st to 14th place in the standings. Mikel Landa of Team Astana won the stage and Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) stayed in pink.


It was like flying low in the first 60 kilometres of the mountain stage because LottoNL-Jumbo leader Steven Kruijswijk was well supported and wasted little energy until the first mountains.


"From the start, it was a race and speeds went to 60 kilometres per hour," said sports director Jan Boven at Madonna di Campiglio to the LottoNL-Jumbo website. "It was flying low, but our men rode well in those circumstances. Bert-Jan Lindeman, Martijn Keizer and Nick van der Lijke went with the best to the foot of the penultimate climb, and positioned Kruijswijk well in the group with Contador. It's especially good for Van der Lijke, who is in his first Grand Tour. The others have done a tremendous job in the run to the mountains. I’m satisfied with the team."


Ambitious target The Giro d'Italia has taken its toll and some had to pull the plug early in the mountains.


“Every day, I move up slightly with my car in the caravan," continued Boven. "We knew the ascent and descent. Steven went solo in the downhill, that was as planned. He was able to do his own speed and took control. After the descent, the group with Steven was considerably thinned and riders in front of him in the standings lost time. If we can continue to do so then a top ten is possible. It was a realistic but also a quite ambitious goal, that top ten.”


After the hard time trial yesterday, Kruijswijk had little to no problems today. His legs felt good.


"My performance yesterday was no coincidence. Today I had a good feeling in my legs,” said a satisfied Kruijswijk on the massage table. "Jan Boven had warned me for the descent and so knew I had to be at the front there and I gained time on some competitors."


The LottoNL-Jumbo leader knew that Astana would set the pace on the final climb of the Madonna di Campiglio.


“After the descent to the Campiglio, Astana began to push hard in the front. It was predictable,” continued Kruijswijk. "The pace was hard but then with ten kilometres from the finish, Tanel Kangert started pulling a murderous pace and behind me, a lot of riders dropped off. I could stay there until three to the end, but when Contador attacked, I couldn’t follow."


The top ten looks close, but is still far away. Kruijswijk remains realistic.


"I look at it day by day. When I can continue to perform around a top five in the stages then a top ten is possible. But again, I want to take it day by day. The last week was very hard and also I have to spread my energy. First thing tomorrow is to enjoy the rest day and put the legs up in the air."


Tomorrow is the last day of rest before the brutal closing week of the Giro.  


"Tomorrow our men have to rest and save their legs as much as possible," said Boven. "We go ahead with confidence."



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