Steven Kruijswijk will look back on his Giro d’Italia with nothing but pride, according to the Dutchman. The LottoNL-Jumbo rider finished seventh overall in Milan after a strong second half to the race. After the opening week of racing Kruijswijk found himself well out of contention for a top ten place but he battled back during the second and third weeks with dogged displays in the mountains.
He also came close to winning a stage and finished third in the King of the Mountains classification.
“It’s been a wonderful Giro. It went better than expected. I think I rode a very strong tour and have performed at my maximum. I was always there and showed myself every day. I ended up seventh and I’m very proud of that,” Kruijswijk said in a statement.
Kruijswijk finished 10:53 down on race winner Alberto Contador but lost eight minutes in the opening week.
“I had to handle a big blow in the process, but I fought back. You can’t control everything in a three-week race. Some days are better, some less. That’s how a grand tour works.”
Sports Director Frans Maassen praised Kruijswijk’s mental fortitude in battling back from a difficult opening first week, in which at one point he sat well outside the top 20 overall.
“I’m proud of Steven’s place in the time trial, but there were more great moments. Like Steven’s two second places.”
Maassen also pinpointed his team leader’s performance on stage nine, where he finished second to Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) on the road to San Giorgio Del Sannio.
“I was driving right behind all day and he didn’t have the best legs anymore because a day earlier he had been in a long break. I didn’t think a second place was possible, but Steven pulled it off. At that moment, it felt like a victory and maybe that was the best moment of the whole Giro.”