Team Jumbo-Visma wins thirteen medals at first ISU World Cup in Heerenveen
Team Jumbo-Visma has concluded the first ISU World Cup of the season with thirte...
Steven Kruijswijk has claimed his first ever overall podium in a Grand Tour. In the last mountain stage to Val Thorens, the leader of Team Jumbo-Visma moved up from fourth to third place overall. For Kruijswijk, it is the ultimate reward for years of hard work after having already finished fourth in the Giro, fourth in the Vuelta and fifth in last year’s Tour de France.
In the shortened stage from Albertville, Kruijswijk put his Team Jumbo-Visma teammates in the front of the peloton at the foot of the 33-kilometre climb to Val Thorens. The efforts of George Bennett and later Laurens De Plus in particular caused that Julian Alaphilippe wasn’t able to follow their pace at ten kilometres from the finish. Kruijswijk finished eighth in the stage.
“This is what I came for and wanted to achieve. We have done everything and it worked out. I think I can be very proud of that”, Kruijswijk explained. “I had to put in an extreme effort. I was close to the podium a few times before. I have always kept working hard and always continued to fight. And the team has always believed in me. The fact that it has worked out now can’t be described with words. The team delivered a tremendous job today. We knew we had to go all in, so we took the initiative from the start of the climb. The pace of George and especially Laurens was so high that everyone was riding at their limits. That was good for me. I had expected that Alaphilippe would face difficulties, but I also had to keep an eye on Buchmann. I kept fighting all the way to the finish and I just had to finish it off for the boys. I am really happy that it worked out.”
De Plus had also seen a dream come true. “Getting on the overall podium with Steven in my first ever Tour de France is simply incredible. We put all our cards on the table today. It was all or nothing. Steven had been close to the podium a few times, so we had to do everything we could to make sure he would become third. I gave everything I had. I am very happy. This is so well-deserved. All those times we were on altitude to prepare for the Tour... All preparations have paid off. This is the best reward for all the effort we put in.”
Bennett also couldn’t find the words to describe his feelings. “This is great for Steven and the team. We have always believed in the podium and we have achieved what we came for as a team. With four stage wins and the podium, it has been a great Tour and it’s not even over yet. Winning with Dylan in Paris would really be the icing on the cake.”
Sports director Grischa Niermann concurred with the explanation of his riders. “We came here for the podium and we succeeded in that. We must also honestly say that this was the best we could achieve. Finishing third in the Tour is really impressive and the third place in the Tour always counts a little bit more. It is also Stevens first podium in a Grand Tour. My compliments to Steven and the entire team. After some setbacks in the past week, we have shown resilience as a team and we have shown that we didn’t get distracted. It has been a great Tour and hopefully it will get even better tomorrow.”