Jos van Emden’s fighting spirit showed in the third stage of the Volta a Valenciana today in Riba-Roja de Turia. He attacked and tried to hold off the eventual sprint finish, won by Magnus Cort Nielsen (Orica-Scott).
When the dust settled, Greg Van Avermaet retained the overall lead in the stage race.
"It was a hectic day with a lot of wind,” Van Emden said. “My attack in the last hour was certainly not the plan. At some point the peloton slowed down because of the headwind, the rider from Roompot wanted to attack and I thought it was a good idea. Never try, never win."
Van Emden jumped clear with Elmar Reinders when the peloton closed in on the early six-man escape. He crossed the gap, but had to hold it for 22 kilometres. Van Emden rode fast, but the peloton went faster.
"When we got to the breakaway, they were not going fast enough,” he added. “I immediately took off and rode just ahead of the peloton. My lead was so small, I never dared to think of victory."
At 10 kilometres out, van Emden was caught and the sprint teams readied to deliver their leader. A couple of riders tried to attack on the short climb into town, but could not hold off the bunch.
‘You never know’
"With so many kilometres left, such an escape doesn’t have a chance, but it's definitely nice that Jos van Emden tried anyway,” said Sports Director Nico Verhoeven. “On these roads, you really have to feel first-hand when you can go. You never know with the narrow roads in the finals.
"It was a hectic day because there was a lot of wind. We rode the stage well. No one crashed and Steven Kruijswijk finished ready for tomorrow, when we finish uphill."
The finish in Llucena is the same as last year’s when Gesink placed in the Vuelta a España. On the climb tomorrow, it will be Kruijswijk’s turn.
"He has lost some time and is not well-placed in the overall classification,” Verhoeven said. “Perhaps that can be an advantage for him, to allow him more freedom to get away."