Kruijswijk moves up a notch in Giro d'Italia

LottoNl-Jumbo team captain finished with Nibali atop Oropa

Steven Kruijswijk hopes that his luck has changed at the Giro d'Italia. After famously crashing into a snowbank while wearing the leader's jersey in the race in 2016, the LottoNL-Jumbo captain was looking to fight for the win again this year. After suffering in the earlier mountain stages and losing time to his rivals, he hopes now to be back on the right foot.

Kruijswijk finished ninth on Saturday's Oropo stage, finishing together with Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) only 44 seconds behind stage winner Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb).

"Today, I could go a little deeper and felt better than last week," he said in a team press release. "I still have confidence in myself and thought, I'm just getting up to full speed and I'll see how I can finish. Fortunately, I could keep it up. Something we can work with, but of course, I still have to do better."

The Dutchman's problems started immediately on the first stage, as he was caught behind a crash shortly before the three km marker and he lost 13 seconds. He went into the fourth stage ending atop Mt. Etna "with confidence", but once again a crash threw him back. Kruijswijk was one of many who hit the road at a right-hand turn to start the climb. He was quickly back on his bike, and ended up only 23 seconds down.

Things went well again until the Blockhaus stage, where he finished 12th but 2:43 down. On the following time trial, he again lost 2:43 to finish in 20th place. Although he was over five minutes down he was still in 10th place in GC.

But another two minute loss on the many climbs of stage 11, which knocked him down to twelfth, was followed by two easier flat stages, leading up to a better result in the closing climb on Saturday and hopes of better luck in the final week of climbing.

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