Glorious return to cyclocross for Van Empel
Fem van Empel has marked her return to the field with a victory. The 21-year-old...
In June, with the Tour de France just around the corner, Steven Kruijswijk (36) spent the month finishing his preparations for his most significant goal of the season. Nothing seemed to stand in the way of an excellent Tour summer until a crash in the second stage of the Critérium du Dauphine ended those ambitions. After months of rehabilitation, the Dutchman will return to racing at the Tour of Britain on Sunday.
"I'm doing well", Kruijswijk says. "I've been doing a lot of training lately. I feel ready for this race. I'm looking forward to wearing a cycling jersey again. I broke my collarbone and pelvis in June, so I could not ride my bike for a while. It is disappointing to miss the Tour and the Vuelta like that. As a result, part of my season was lost. With the support of my family, I have managed to get through this period well."
The climber took his time getting better. "After six or seven weeks, I got back on the bike. All the time, I was working on my shoulder with a physiotherapist. I still do that. I've been putting a lot of effort into getting back to racing. That moment has now come. It's great that it's still possible this season. I want to compete in as many races as possible for the remainder of the season", a visibly happy Kruijswijk says.
"I'm doing well"
This year's Tour of Britain consists of eight stages, five of which are flat. There are three hill stages as well. "We want to go for the win in the sprint with Olav Kooij", Kruijswijk says. "Wout van Aert is also a contender in these stages, but he has a chance in every stage. The last three stages are a bit more in his favour. If we finish at the front every day, it will make for an excellent final classification. We will start full of ambition."
For the Dutchman, getting back into the race rhythm is his primary goal. "After three months without a race, I must get back into it. I still lack the race rhythm. I hope to get it back in the coming week. The intention is to use this race to get stronger. I also want to be important to the team. Hopefully, I can contribute to some good results. Above all, I want to enjoy being back in the race."
The Tour of Britain coincides with the Bretagne Classic, also known as the GP Plouay. Sports director Robert Wagner is looking ahead. "It will be a tough race. Brittany goes up and down all the time. The course is revised every year. It has never been as difficult in terms of altitude as this year's race, with more than 4,000 altimetres. Add to that a distance of almost 260 kilometres, and you have a truly tough race. Tiesj Benoot and Christophe Laporte will serve as our lead riders on Sunday. We intend to fight for victory with them."
Tour of Britain
Wout van Aert
Nathan van Hooydonck
Jos van Emden
Mick van Dijke
Tim van Dijke
Tosh van der Sande