Steven Kruijswijk placed eighth overall in the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. The leader of Team LottoNL-Jumbo climbed up the standings yesterday and today, held that position behind overall winner Nairo Quintana.
"I look back with satisfaction at my first stage race,” Kruijswijk said. “The team time trial was not what we had expected but with the rest of the stages, I am satisfied. With this race in my legs, I can look forward to the season ahead."
Because of the strong winds, the stage was shortened today. Of the 130 kilometres on the programme, they only raced 51 kilometres. The jury cut the part towards Valencia and left only a street circuit in the Spanish city.
"It was storming pretty hard and it was prudent to skip in the city’s outskirts,” added Kruijswijk. “The race went at a high speed, so it was over before you knew it."
Several riders tried to stay ahead of the peloton, but they were caught in the last kilometre. The peloton sprinted for stage victory. Frenchman Bryan Coqaurd won the sprint, the Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s crossed the line in the group.
Nothing changed in the top of the general classification. Nairo Quintana won and Steven Kruijswijk finished eighth at 2-12 behind.
"The feeling is good," Sports Director Nico Verhoeven said. "In this first stage race of the year for these riders, it's important that they have time to get used to each other. New men like Jurgen Van den Broeck and Stef Clement fit into the group.
"The team time trial wasn't the best because some of the men didn't achieve their expected form. The following stages were good, we got the maximum out of the week. It's good to build from here. We are ready now for the upcoming races."