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 lost time to his two closest rivals in the general classification in the 16th stage of the Giro d'Italia. The Slovenian leader of Team Jumbo-Visma had a bad moment four kilometres from the summit but limited the damage, thanks in part to the work of Sepp Kuss, to finish third. On the line, he was 25 seconds behind.
A challenging stage awaited the peloton the day after the rest day. With almost six thousand metres of climbing, the stage featured five categorised climbs. At the start of the stage, a large lead group broke away, and Team Jumbo-Visma took control of the race.
Thanks to the hard work of Edoardo Affini, Sam Oomen, Michel Hessmann and Rohan Dennis, the lead group was within reach before the final 10 kilometres. Roglic and Kuss maintained their position in the lead group, which also featured Geraint Thomas, Joo Almeida, and Eddie Dunbar, with eight kilometers remaining.
Roglic struggled in one of the hairpins, allowing Thomas and Almeida to ride away from the Slovenian. Kuss gave his all for his leader. Partly as a result of this, Roglic was able to limit the damage compared to the competition.
"Primoz didn't have his best legs"
"We decided to take control and ride a solid pace on the final climb", he said. After the other teams got involved at the front, it turned out that Primoz didn't have his best legs", sports director Marc Reef said. "He rode completely empty with Sepp. The first three riders are within half a minute of each other. We lost a battle here, but certainly not the war. There is still a lot to come over the next few days, so we have confidence in the best possible outcome. In the coming days, we will utilise the team's qualities to fight for victory."
After the stage, Koen Bouwman also alluded to the strength of the collective. "As a team we showed that we are in good shape. The race did not erupt on purpose, but Rohan raced so aggressively at the front of the pack that it did. That Primoz lost time on the final climb was obviously not the plan. It will be an exciting battle for the top spots in the general classification until Saturday", Bouwman predicted.