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Cycling | 9 september 2018

Kruijswijk confirms good form in Vuelta's Covadonga stage

Steven Kruijswijk confirmed his great form in the 15th stage of the Vuelta a España. At the top of the Lagos de Covadonga, the Team LottoNL-Jumbo leader finished fifth at 32 seconds behind stage winner Thibaut Pinot.

In the overall standings, the Dutchman remains fifth at 1-29 minutes from overall leader Simon Yates.

The stage was characterised by the traditional early breakaway including Danny van Poppel and George Bennett from Team LottoNL-Jumbo. The leading group was chased down on the early slopes of Covadonga.

"The race was full on from the start which made it a really tough day," Kruijswijk said. "I rode my own pace on the final climb. I had to let them go a couple of times because of the tempo changes, but I could rejoin them in the final kilometre. 

"All in all, it was a great day and I didn't lose much time. Now first a good rest day and then I'll turn my focus on the final week. A lot is still possible. "

Co-leader George Bennett showed resilience today by going in the breakaway after two bad days. 

"It was a good day for me," Bennett said. "Now that I no longer fight for the classification, I have to try something else. We did not have enough horsepower in the leading group to keep the gap big enough. Even though I think it did not matter much because the peloton rode very fast. 

"For the coming week, there will still be some possibilities for me, although I will also be riding for Steven."

Sprinter Danny van Poppel impressed the team in the leading group. 

"I surprised myself today," he said. "I feel good and I tried to help George and then Steven as much as possible. After that, I rode up the hill on my own pace. 

"This gives confidence for the final week. There will be two more sprint stages. It would be nice if I could win a stage. The team has confidence and we will certainly try it. "

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