Kruijswijk loses time in hectic Giro d'Italia opener

LottoNl-Jumbo rider caught out behind crash

Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) came into the Giro d'Italia confident in the knowledge that, had it not been for his crash on last year's third to last stage, he could have been a Grand Tour champion.

A crash in last week's Tour de Yorkshire, however, may have led the Dutchman to be too cautious in the opening stage in Sardinia - he ended up on the wrong side of splits opened up because of a crash just outside the 3km to go mark, and bled 13 potentially important seconds.

"It sucks that I lost time on the first day," Kruijswijk said. "It was actually an easy day, but right then the final is very hectic."

The early breakaway was caught on the run-in to Olbia with 3.5km to go, and on a sharp, narrow right-hand bend, several riders came to grief and there was a sudden roadblock of riders at a stand still, with Kruijswijk on the wrong side of the stoppage.

"The peloton completely stopped. I was right behind it, but together with Jos van Emden I was able to come back again," he said. "In the last kilometre again, there were some gaps in the peloton and I was behind them."

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Why Kruijswijk was so far back when all of his GC rivals finished in the main peloton just behind stage winner Lukas Postlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), directeur sportif Addy Engels says could be the effects of his crash last week.

"Of course, we are doing our best to prevent this kind of time loss," Engels said. "It is very unfortunate. That corner was there, we knew that. That the peloton comes to a halt and we sat behind. That doesn't happen often.

"I can imagine that his crash in Yorkshire is still in his head. That was also in a bunch sprint, and you may need to get over it."

Kruijswijk said physically he is fine after the crash, which injured his ribs, but "The mental is different, you obviously take less risks because of a crash a bunch sprint a week earlier."

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