Kooij falls just short of victory in first stage of Tour of Valencia

Kooij falls just short of victory in first stage of Tour of Valencia

After a long day, Olav Kooij came close to winning the first stage of the Tour of Valencia. Behind Biniam Girmay, the sprinter of Team Jumbo-Visma had to settle for second place in Altea.

Kooij struggled on the Coll de Rates, the day's first climb, seventy kilometres from the finish. "I knew it would be difficult today. I had to pass on the first climb, but fortunately, I was able to catch up to the peloton on the descent with the support of my teammates", he said.

"We came to Spain with a young group of riders, who can gain experience here"

Frans Maassen

Sports Director Frans Maassen saw a strong team and was pleased with the race. "The race went according to plan. We came to Spain with a young group of riders. The Tour of Valencia is traditionally a race where you can let these talents gain experience. It is a shame that Olav came up short after the team's strong ride."

Although close, Team Jumbo-sprinter Visma's had to yield Biniam Girmay the victory. "I got into the wind a bit too early", the Dutchman said. "They started sprinting a bit earlier than me. There was a small gap that I couldn't close. But I can be happy with the second place. It's the first race of the season for me. It is great that we have started again."


Maassen agreed with Kooij. "A first race is never easy. Later in the week, Olav should have another opportunity to win a stage."

Tomorrow's stage will be challenging with seven categorised climbs. "The second day will really be a ride for the GC riders. Maybe we can try something with Koen, Sam and Tom", the sports director concluded.

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