Kooij ninth on first stage ZLM Tour
Surprisingly, the first bunch sprint of the ZLM Tour did not take place. Olav Ko...
Jonas Vingegaard has won Itzulia Basque Country. The 26-year-old Team Jumbo-Visma rider left everyone behind in the final stage and crossed the line solo. Vingegaard won three of the six stages and the general classification and the points classification.
The final stage of Itzulia Basque Country promised to be a short but tough one. From the start, Team Jumbo-Visma was in control of the race. Steven Kruijswijk and Attila Valter were part of a large lead group for a long time. When the two had to give up their leading role at the front with thirty kilometres to go, Vingegaard jumped to the front of the peloton. The Dane then left everyone behind to ride solo to the stage win and overall victory in Eibar.
"It was a tough but beautiful day for the team”, Vingegaard said. "Once again, I thank my teammates very much. They were fantastic today, as they have been all week. With Attila and Steven in the breakaway, we controlled the race. I'm happy I was able to finish. I have had good results in the Basque Country before without winning, so the overall victory makes it even more special."
"I had good legs, so I took a chance"
On the penultimate climb, Vingegaard decided to attack. "I knew I had to attack in there because the last climb was not tough enough to make the difference. I had good legs, so I took a chance. The plan was that I would try to pull away there. I wanted to defend my leader's jersey, so it was better to go to the finish in a small group. When I noticed no one could follow me, I decided to continue", the Tour winner said.
Sports director Frans Maassen also looked back with pride. "We had it all planned this way, but to see it come off like this is fantastic. Of course, it makes it much easier when you have riders like this”, he said. "We were hoping to have one rider in the breakaway, but with Steven and Attila, we had two with us. Jonas was in a comfortable position in the peloton."
"Jonas is such a good rider. He was also motivated to win the race, even though the course wasn’t quite right for him. All the pieces had to fall into place, and they did. The team also handled Rohan Dennis’ retirement well. It was a great day. I’m really enjoying it”, Maassen concluded.
For Vingegaard, it’s his second overall victory in a stage race this season after O Gran Camino. The stage and overall victory were his 7th and 8th victory of the season, the 23rd and 24th for Team Jumbo-Visma.