Kooij ninth on first stage ZLM Tour
Surprisingly, the first bunch sprint of the ZLM Tour did not take place. Olav Ko...
Tijmen Graat has won the 60th edition of the GP Palio del Recioto in fine fashion. The 20-year-old rider of the Jumbo-Visma Development Team beat Giulio Pellizzari in a sprint in the hilly Negrar. Johannes Staune-Mittet finished fifth despite a late crash.
With 25 kilometres remaining, Tijmen Graat and fellow Italian escapee Giulio Pellizzari surged out of a group including Johannes Staune-Mittet, who finished third last year, and Menno Huising. In the two-man sprint, Graat proved to be the strongest. “I didn’t expect to win here after a sprint. I know I am a strong climber, but I am not a sprinter”, the 20-year-old Dutchman said. “I didn’t have much faith in it. But you always have to believe in it, and I did today. I am so happy I made it. I also rode this race last year, but I didn’t perform as well. I’m ecstatic with this victory.”
"We have such a strong team. It’s unbelievable"
Team Jumbo-Visma’s development team performed well for the second consecutive day in Italy. “We have such a strong team”, a euphoric Graat said. “It’s amazing how well we get along with one another. We genuinely give one another everything.” Johannes Staune-Mittet had already won the Giro del Belvedere on Monday.
“After yesterday, we have won another prestigious U23 race”, a proud sports director Robert Wagner said. “The winners of these races have gone on to have successful professional careers. It was a fantastic day. The way we rode as a team today was amazing. Even though it was exciting for a while as Tijmen and Pellizzari were evenly matched on the last climb.”
"The way we won this race was great"
“Tijmen is not known as a sprinter, but he did everything perfectly. He just needs to learn to zip up his jersey for the photos”, Wagner said with a smile. “Winning a race is always wonderful, but the way he handled it was pure class. He is going through a huge development, which is fantastic. For a brief moment, Johannes appeared to be competing for a podium spot, but unfortunately, he crashed. Tijmen was consistently in a strong position thanks to Menno and Owen, who also rode a superb race. We are very proud.”
For Graat, it is his third victory of the season after a stage win and the overall classification at the Istrian Spring Trophy. The Team Jumbo-Visma Development Team victory tally now stands at six.