Victories in E3 Saxo Classic and Gent-Wevelgem in photos
Last weekend, with E3 Saxo Classic and Gent-Wevelgem, two big Flemish classics w...
Gijs Leemreize has clinched a podium in the Giro d'Italia. The 22-year-old Dutchman, trained in the Team Jumbo-Visma Development Team, rode away from a large breakaway group with two other riders. In the sprint, he had to acknowledge Stefano Oldani and Lorenzo Rota’s superiority. For the youngster, it was his first podium place in a grand tour.
With three third-category climbs, the twelfth stage between Parma and Genoa promised to be a battle between the attackers. After an attractive opening phase, 24 riders managed to get away. Pascal Eenkhoorn and Leemreize were present on behalf of Team Jumbo-Visma.
The grand tour debutants made a strong impression and Leemreize reacted well when Rota broke away on the day's second climb. With Oldani, the trio quickly took a one-minute lead on a chasing group, which didn't manage to come closer.
It enabled Leemreize, who had already finished sixth in stage four, to fight for the day's victory. Although the youngster tried to surprise his breakaway companions twice in the final kilometre, he was beaten by the fast Italians.
"This was the best I could do", Leemreize said. "I knew I had to try something because if I sprinted, I would be third anyway. In the last kilometre I tried to create a gap twice, hoping they would look at each other, but unfortunately, they closed the gap."
Partly thanks to Eenkhoorn, Leemreize managed to attack on the second climb. "When Rota went, Pascal said: 'This is a good moment to go'. I went with Oldani, which worked out perfectly. In hindsight, I maybe should have tried to go solo a little earlier; the chasers were at forty seconds."
With a sixth and a third place, Leemreize can be proud of his first Giro and the development he is going through. "It's going well so far and I have the feeling my shape will be good for the remainder of this Giro. These kind of performances give me a lot of confidence and I now know that the grand tours suit me well. If I can continue like this, there will be more opportunities this Giro."