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Tour de France

Kruijswijk encouraged by Jumbo-Visma success

The Dutchman believes he and his team have the goods to challenge in the mountain stages that loom.

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ALBI, France (VN) — As a team, Jumbo-Visma has taken more wins at this year’s Tour de France than any other — with Mike Teunissen, Dylan Groenewegen, and Wout Van Aert, as well as in the team time trial — and now its GC leader Steven Kruijswijk wants to follow through and put his stamp on the overall classification of the race.

The Dutch WorldTour team has won four stages so far, which is encouraging for its Dutch leader. He sits 15 seconds behind the top classification rider Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos).

“Being part of a winning team is great; everything we wanted to do we achieved in the first half of the Tour,” Kruijswijk told VeloNews.

“It’s great to be a part of this team, and it gives me a confidence for myself that everyone is working so hard, everyone seems to be in great shape, and hopefully it’s the same for me.”

The race now enters the mountains, and Kruijswijk is focused on his rivals behind and the two co-leaders at Ineos that sit just ahead of him. Alongside Ineos’s Thomas and Egan Bernal, he gained 1:40 minutes in stage 10 to a batch of rivals. It puts him in a good spot, right at the top of the virtual leaderboard.

“We have to just be faster at the finish than them, and how we’re going to make it work, I don’t know, but if I can race against those guys then we’ll have to see if there are opportunities to really attack them and maybe do something,” he continued.

“I think every season I always get to a certain level, but for this year, I hope to jump [up to the next level] in the Tour. I’m always a little bit behind those [top] guys, but I’m always there, and I think I’ll be there again this year, but hopefully a little more.”

Kruijswijk looked ready to win the 2016 Giro d’Italia until he crashed into a snow bank with one mountain day remaining. However, his string of consistent results includes fifth in the 2018 Tour, which was noted even by Geraint Thomas on the rest day.

After the first 10 stages and a rest in Albi, the Tour now turns its attention to the serious mountains. That is where he believes he will know for sure how he is going and if it is Bernal or Thomas leading Ineos.

“It’s hard to predict what’s coming up next, but I have to say that the first 10 days were quite hard and I got through it quite well, but it doesn’t say anything about my form in the mountains,” he continued.

“I’m not unsure about myself, but I also think that the position I’m in now says something about how focused I am — always up there in the finals, I’m still quite relaxed, but the first real test will be the time trial and afterwards to the Tourmalet.

“Then we’ll really see if I can compete with those guys, like G and Bernal, or if I have to step down. But for now I’m still confident.”