Kruijswijk declared fit to battle on at the Giro d'Italia

Steven Kruijswijk struggles to the line after crashing during stage 19.

Steven Kruijswijk struggles to the line after crashing during stage 19.

Steven Kruijswijk will battle on in the Giro d'Italia after being declared fit to start the penultimate stage on Saturday morning. 

After spinning the legs on the rollers in his hotel this morning, Kruijswijk's LottoNL-Jumbo team confirmed he would be carrying on, despite the fractured rib and pain in his foot and side that he sustained in a crash on yesterday's stage 19. 

"We discussed with the doctor and it's possible to start, and we will see how far I can get," Kruijswijk told a group of reporters at the stage 20 start town of Guillestre. "I have been better [in terms of morale] but I'm still trying to fight."

The Dutchman, who held a seemingly commanding lead atop the general classification, misjudged a bend not far downt he descent of the Colle dell'Agnello, and careered into the roadside snow banking, tumbling head over heels. He battled on admirably in a desperate bid to limit his losses but he reached Risoul battered and bruised, almost 5 minutes down on stage winner Vincenzo Nibali on the day and just over a minute down overall on new race leader Esteban Chaves. 

He was taken to Briancon for medical tests and his team said a decision over whether he starts today's penultimate stage, another big high-mountain test, would be taken in the morning. After warming up on the rollers in the team's hotel this morning he was given the green light, though it remains to be seen how much of an impact he will be able to make. 

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Given the form he has shown so far in this Giro, it would not be unthinkable that Kruijswijk could recoup the 1:05 needed to win this Giro. However, the injuries sustained and the efforts of a long, lonely chase to keep his race alive yesterday will almost certainly be apparent today. 

After crossing the line yesterday, his attitude was one of defeatism.

“I’ve lost the Giro. I’ve f*cked up everything,” he said. “My morale is broken. I tried to give it everything but my body hurts like hell and so it’s all over."

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