Markus takes Dutch title on Col du VAM
Riejanne Markus has won the Dutch national championship on the Col du VAM. The 2...
Team Jumbo-Visma has not been able to ride for the day's victory on the opening day of the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe. In a difficult stage, the breakaway group stayed ahead. Olav Kooij was the best-classified rider on behalf of Team Jumbo-Visma. He finished fifteenth.
Early in the race, a four-rider breakaway formed. Thanks to Team Jumbo-Visma and others, the breakaway didn't get much of a gap.
At one hundred kilometres from the finish, on one of the last challenging hills of the day, several riders made the crossing from the peloton to the leading group. Behind this group, Team Jumbo-Visma and other teams kept chasing, but they couldn't close the gap anymore.
With a few kilometres to go, Olav Kooij managed to reach a chasing group. Although this group came close, the leading group remained out of reach.
"We tried and fought for it, but unfortunately, we couldn't close the gap."
From the car, Sports director Addy Engels coached his young riders. "It was a tough race. We had things pretty much under control until about halfway through the race. We were behind the leading group, aiming for a sprint and things were looking good at that moment. On the last climb of the day, with more than a hundred kilometres to go, INEOS pulled off a nice coup and a strong group formed. At that moment, we couldn't keep up with them. We immediately started riding ahead of the peloton, but we never got closer than twenty seconds. We are here with a small, young team, so it isn't easy against such strong men. We tried and fought, but unfortunately, we couldn't close the gap. With the last lap coming up, the peloton gave up and we counterattacked with Olav. That was even more exciting."
In the coming days, Team Jumbo-Visma will still try to sprint with Kooij. "In terms of profile, every day is about sprinting. We're riding in quite a strong peloton. When those guys start racing, you know something will happen. The weather will also worsen as the wind will pick up in the coming days. We'll have to fight to sprint, but it's not going to be easy."