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Steven Kruijswijk takes his first career victory
Rabobank rider says he knew he was best in the group Thursday
Steven Kruijswijk displayed his climbing abilities in the Giro d'Italia and has continued to confirm his talents in the Tour de Suisse. The Rabobank rider won the sixth stage in Switzerland with a solo effort on a mountain-top finish, in what he called “a beautiful victory”.
The 24-year-old, in only his second ProTeam year, finished ninth overall in the Giro and is currently third in Switzerland, 13 seconds behind teammate Bauke Mollema in second place and 1:36 behind leader Damiano Cunego (Lampre).
At the start of the race earlier this week, and especially in the first stage up Crans Montana, “I felt my legs indeed. I had good condition at the start of this race, but not the freshness to do something extra. I had to get used to the effort,” he said on the team's website.
But his success in the Giro taught him a lesson. “There was the confidence that this race would be better. I knew I would grow. That's the the experience you take from previous races.”
Once he attacked with 2km to go, he was not surprised that Cunego could not come with him. “For me it was clear that I was the best of the group. Then it was a matter of going full out through to the finish line. The last kilometre was very steep, but I felt very strong. Winning here is great, but the terrain and the opposition make it very special indeed.”
He and the team will do what they can on Friday's mountain stage, “and not wait until the last mile.” The Dutch climbers know they are at a disadvantage in Saturday's time trial.
The Tour de France is not on his programme this year, but the Vuelta a Espana might be a possibility. The young Dutchman is not looking too far ahead, though. When this race is done, he will discuss the rest of the season with team management. "I want to get this job done as well as possible and then we'll move on.”