Van Empel also strongest in Boom
Fem van Empel has won the fifth race of the Superprestige classification. In Boo...
Tijmen Graat has won the third stage of the Istrian Spring Trophy in Croatia. In the queen stage of the four-day stage race, the 20-year-old Dutchman of the Jumbo-Visma Development Team finished before Adam Toupalik and his teammate Darren van Bekkum. Because of his victory, Graat will start the race wearing the leader's jersey tomorrow.
The Jumbo-Visma development team had already secured two top-ten finishes in the first two stages with Van Bekkum and Dario Belletta, including the one-and-a-half kilometre prologue.
"My first victory on the road and in a Team Jumbo-Visma jersey, incredible."
Today the queen stage between Novigrad and Motovun was on the programme. "We were at the front with the team throughout the stage. My intention was to attack on the last climb", said Graat. "After one kilometre of climbing, I attacked and then rode alone for another two kilometres to the finish line. It was still close, but I could win; Darren was third. Every detail of the plan was executed perfectly. And everyone on this team contributed to that."
"This is a dream come true", rejoiced Graat. "My first victory on the road and in a Jumbo-Visma shirt, incredible. Menno consolidating his mountain jersey is amazing, and I will start wearing the leader's jersey tomorrow. So we will go for it again tomorrow with the team. I feel confident."
"It's nice to reward ourselves with a top result."
Sports director Robert Wagner felt that today's plan had been executed perfectly. "Our plan was completed with class. First of all, we wanted to secure Menno's mountain jersey. He did that very well with the support of his teammates. Then, we wanted to put Tijmen and Darren in a good position for the final ascent. They made it to the bottom of the climb, largely thanks to Pietro and Dario. Fantastic."
For Wagner, it is not just the results that count. "The results are nice, but the riders' development is the most important. The guys rode very well and according to our plan. So it is nice to reward ourselves with a top result. Tijmen's development is remarkable because he started cycling relatively late. We knew he could fight for the win here, and he lived up to that. Hopefully, we can finish well tomorrow, but we already have achieved this", the former professional rider proudly concluded.
Thanks to the victory of Graat, who had his first encounter with the Dutch pro team during a clinic in 2018 and joined the development team in 2022, the Jumbo-Visma Development Team took its first win of the season.
Photo: Stiehl Photography