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Team Jumbo-Visma has left a strong impression as a team in the fourteenth stage of the Tour de France. Leader Steven Kruijswijk was assisted on the flanks of the Tourmalet by George Bennett and Laurens De Plus until deep in the final. The Dutchman eventually sprinted to third place behind stage winner Thibaut Pinot and overall leader Julian Alaphilippe.
Kruijswijk retains his third place overall at 2.14 from Alaphilippe.
Team Jumbo-Visma took the lead in the final kilometres of the Tourmalet. De Plus and Bennett continued to pull so hard that ten riders could only barely follow. Kruijswijk battled long for the stage victory, but could not outpace the acceleration of first Pinot and then Alaphilippe.
“This was a great day for us”, Kruijswijk said. “I think my shape is good. Laurens and George rode so fast that I had to slow them down a bit. When I looked over my shoulder, I saw that only ten riders were able to follow. Then I focused on the last five hundred metres. I finished in a good way and this certainly provides perspective. The team was really strong today. That is really good to see. During the first ten days, we were strong as a team in the sprints and now we were still represented by three riders among the best ten on the Tourmalet. After having lost Wout, we had to refocus. I think that worked out well today. I’m going to give my all every day. If I can hold on to this in the coming week, it will look good for the podium. But some others showed that it can be over from one day to the next. So let’s not get ahead of ourselves regarding the overall podium.”
George Bennett praised the team. “The team was really great and Steven is also very good. This gives confidence for tomorrow and towards the Alps.”
Sports director Grischa Niermann had witnessed a strong team, but he is careful about the podium chances of his leader as well. “The last week is going to be really tough. There are going to be a number of climbs that are much longer than today’s and they also exceed two thousand altitude metres. We went on an altitude training camp a month ago and we did a recon of the Alp stages. I think the stage to Val Thorens will be decisive. I hope that after that stage we will be in the same position as today and that we can achieve more of these kinds of results over the next few days.”