No stage wins or podiums but encouraging signs, sport director says
Team Blanco missed out on its primary goal at the Giro d'Italia, as team captain Robert Gesink faltered and eventually had to leave the race due to illness, but sport director Jan Boven saw “some very positive things and some elements to build on.”
The race started out well. “The first ten days were really super. I am very proud of that,” he said on the team's website. “We were constantly riding up front and well grouped. We got a setback in Robert’s time loss at the Jafferau but we overcame that. We continued to be visible with our attacks.
“The stage whereby Robert’s chain problems cost him the win was a second setback. You could certainly say it was a Giro with a lot of emotions.”
One of the highlights was Wilco Kelderman. In his first grand tour, the 22-year-old finished third in the young rider ranking and was 17th overall. “Wilco rode a very good Giro. He really proved himself but also put in a lot of work for the team,” Boven said. “I believe he learned a lot from the guys and that he has a very bright future.”
Kelderman himself had mixed feelings. He regretted that the team did not bring a top result, but said “I am happy that I managed to ride well. I surprised myself in this Giro. I’ve proven that I can handle a grand tour and I’m looking forward to riding one for my own classification someday.”
Both Maarten Tjallingii and Steven Kruijswijk agreed with Boven that the team had come closer together during the race. “I think that we really grew as a team. Naturally, we’re left with a bitter after taste as Robert had to make an early departure but we remained very visible. We were competitive in the finales and rode very hard for each other,” Tjallingii said.
“We supported each other in the most difficult moments: both on and off the bike,” said Kruijswijk. “Together we got through it all.”
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