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Kruijswijk concedes time on GC competitors in Dauphiné’s second stage

Kruijswijk concedes time on GC competitors in Dauphiné’s second stage

In the second stage of the Criterium du Dauphiné, Steven Kruijswijk has lost half a minute on riders like Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana and Thibaut Pinot. In Craponne-sur-Arzon he eventually crossed the finish line in 15th place, 44 seconds from stage winner and new overall leader Dylan Teuns. The leader of Team Jumbo-Visma is now eighteenth overall at 55 seconds.

In the tough stage with eight categorised climbs along the way, it was full throttle from the start. A leading group of thirteen riders broke clear fairly early, including Team Jumbo-Visma’s Sepp Kuss. They were given a maximum of two minutes, but were reeled in quite early because the breakaway contained riders for the overall standings. On the final climb of the day, the Côte de Saint-Victor-sur-Arland, the peloton split to bits. Steven Kruijswijk couldn’t go along with the first riders and therefore lost precious seconds.

Wout van Aert finished the stage in a group at almost two minutes from the lead and retained his white jersey as leader in the best young rider competition. Maarten Wynants abandoned the race.

“It was a difficult and tough stage today”, Kruijswijk said. “The accumulation of short climbs and the bad weather made the stage very difficult. In the final I was well well positioned in the front, but I had to give in just before the top of the final climb and ended up in a second group with Bardet and Porte. After my altitude training, the feeling is good, but I still lack these extra few percents to compete with the best.”

Sports director Grischa Niermann concurred with his leader. “It was a super hard course. They rode really fast. For us, it was an ideal situation that we had Sepp in the breakaway. The other guys did a perfect job by assisting Steven and Wout and by bringing them perfectly into the final. In the end they just couldn’t compete with the best. That is a pity because you’d rather not lose any time, but after their recent altitude training it is also not illogical. The form is good and the guys are on the right path towards the Tour.”

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