Kooij ninth on first stage ZLM Tour
Surprisingly, the first bunch sprint of the ZLM Tour did not take place. Olav Ko...
Primoz Roglic has come through the treacherous final of the third stage of the Giro d'Italia unscathed. He sprinted to seventh place after two climbs and a slippery descent in the rain. Michael Matthews took the win.
The 213-kilometre stage got off to a slow start, with two escapees taking the lead for a while. Team Jumbo-Visma did not worry too much and ensured that leader Roglic was always at the front of the peloton.
It was only in the hilly finale towards Melfi that the race broke open. Several teams set the pace on the two categorised climbs, forcing many riders to let go in the rain. Roglic diligently maintained the lead on the ascents and descents while his teammates led him to the uphill finish.
The Slovenian was grateful for his teammates' work. "It was important to cross the finish line in one piece", Roglic, the new number three in the GC, said. "We tried to get a good result, but that was not the main goal. If there were opportunities, we wanted to seize them. But with all the hectic, it's good that we stayed out of trouble."
"We finished on a good note because Primoz finished in one piece."
Sports director Marc Reef: "I'm relieved since the last 50 kilometers were quite challenging, and the rain made the roads very slippery. We finished on a good note because Primoz finished in one piece."
"We expected the strong sprinters to go for the win here", said Reef. "But because of the weather, it was a bit more hectic than expected. Michel Hessmann and Koen Bouwman assisted Primoz well and tried to guide him to a good classification."
Reef anticipates action on the first mountain stage to Lago Laceno tomorrow. "There are a lot of altimetres, and the finish is after a tricky climb. I expect the GC riders to put their rivals to the test. It will give us a better idea of how strong the competition is."