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Mick van Dijke has finished on the podium in the fifth stage of the Cro Race. The young rider from Zeeland sprinted to third place after some climbing. This performance put Van Dijke in second place in the overall standings with one stage to go.
As the Cro Race does not have an uphill finish, stage five was considered the queen stage. Halfway through the stage, the race erupted on an hors category climb. Simon Yates decided to be the first to attack. The Briton had several riders with him. Team Jumbo-Visma missed the battle but did not give in and took over the lead in the pursuit. Van Dijke relatively easily maintained his position in the front of the race during several accelerations, partly due to the efforts of Sam Oomen and Chris Harper.
The lead of the frontrunners constantly fluctuated around half a minute. Stephen Williams made a decisive attack from the front group, resulting in the stage win and the leader's jersey. Just behind, the group with Van Dijke caught the other leaders and the Dutch time trial champion sprinted to third place.
"I surprised myself today."
"I surprised myself today", Van Dijke said. "The plan was that as a team, we would see how I would digest the mountains on the way. If it turned out positive, the goal would be to ride for my classification. I didn't expect to ride up with the best here. Thanks to the help of Sam and Chris, I even managed to sprint to third place. We have been in full pursuit all day. We tried to go for the stage win but always kept the GC in mind. With one stage to go, I am in second place. We'll make a plan for tomorrow and we'll see what's possible."