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Cycling | 8 september 2018

Kruijswijk's strong Vuelta performance pushes him up to fifth overall

Steven Kruijswijk finished sixth in the Vuelta a España's 14th stage to Les Praeres. The leader of Team LottoNL-Jumbo took the initiative on the steep final climb, but eventually gave ten seconds away to stage winner and new overall leader Simon Yates. 

In the overall rankings, Kruijswijk jumped to fifth place at 1-23 minutes from Yates.

The Dutchman was very attentive all day in the second of three stages with summit finishes, with five major climbs along the way. On the final climb, he was the first to attack. 

Kruijswijk ended the day with a smile on his face. "It went much better than yesterday. I already felt that things are going better every day. It was a tricky stage and you had to be alert all day long, especially when Nibali started to pull in the descent," he said.

"On the final climb I was in front and I immediately tried to find my rhythm by riding at a fast pace. To my surprise, I saw that I got a small gap. I made sure to not to blow myself up. Eventually they came back and the last bit to the finish was a bit too much, but I am glad I could battle with the best and I am happy with that. 

"I am feeling good, my shape is good and the power is still there. Hopefully I will come through tomorrow's stage in a good way too and then focus on the time trial."

Sports Director Grischa Niermann saw his captain work well. "Stevie was very strong on the final climb. Such a short, steep climb is not his specialty, but he did a great job," Niermann said. "He looks very strong and still fresh. You could see that when the peloton split in the descent."

Co-leader George Bennett was on the wrong side of the split in the descent of the Mozqueta and lost seven minutes.

"It is a pity that George lost a lot of time today," added Niermann. "He can still be very important for Stevie in the coming stages. And who knows, maybe he can go for a nice result himself in a stage."

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