Kooij ninth on first stage ZLM Tour
Surprisingly, the first bunch sprint of the ZLM Tour did not take place. Olav Ko...
During the fifth stage of Itzulia Basque Country, Jonas Vingegaard successfully defended his lead in the general classification. The Jumbo-Visma leader fended off several attacks in the final kilometres and crossed the line in the same time as stage winner Sergio Higuita.
During the 164-kilometre stage to Amorebieta, the riders had to deal with some hills again. Two Soudal - Quick Step riders took the lead early in the race and built a four-minute advantage. Thanks to the efforts of Team Jumbo-Visma, the duo was caught about twenty kilometres from the finish.
In the final kilometres, several GC riders attacked, but Vingegaard was alert. Attila Valter then made sure his leader crossed the line safely. "It was a hot and tricky day", Vingegaard said. "The breakaway was very strong, and catching them was quite challenging."
"The guys sacrificed themselves for me every day and did a great job"
Vingegaard once again praised his teammates. "Thanks to them, we were able to catch the escapees, so I thank them very much. The guys sacrificed themselves for me every day and did a great job."
In the overall rankings, Vingegaard is defending a 13-second lead over number two Mikel Landa. The Dane knows what he has to do during Saturday's final stage. "I anticipate a very challenging stage tomorrow. I think anything is possible", Vingegaard said.
"Experience has taught me that the last stage is always chaotic. The leader's jersey is our priority; if the circumstances are favourable, I'll try to win the stage. I will do everything I can to keep the jersey, and at the end of the day, we will see if I have succeeded."