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Steven Kruijswijk not giving up grand tour dreams at crowded Jumbo-Visma collective

'My ambitions are still there': Grand tour stalwart and team longtimer seeking space alongside Vingegaard, Roglič, Kelderman.

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Steven Kruijswijk is still hoping to see some space at the front of the crowded Jumbo-Visma team bus.

The team longtimer and former grand tour contender hasn’t reeled back his own dreams since being crowbarred into playing domestique for “new kids on the block” Jonas Vingegaard and Primož Roglič at the Tour de France and Vuelta a España.

“My ambitions are still there, and I’m sure that I can achieve some more,” Kruijswijk told AD.nl. “I want to have the space for this. My ultimate goals are a podium place in the Giro and to win a stage in the Tour.”

Also read: Road to Tour de France yellow jersey started six years ago for Jumbo-Visma

Kruijwijk joined his Dutch squad’s development team in 2007 for what was his second pro season. Since then, the 35-year-old watched the Rabobank-Lotto franchise transform from the minnow of the top tier to the powerhouse of the pro peloton.

But the team’s gain came at a personal price for Kruijsuwijk.

“We are the best team in the world right now. Sometimes you just have to be at peace with the ambitions of the team,” he said.

Once the center of the team’s three-week ambition, Kruijswijk had to settle for superdomestique as the squad developed a whole new pack of aces.

From Rabobank to Roglič, Kruijswijk saw it all

Kruijswijk was one of the team stalwarts that dragged Jumbo-Visma up the WorldTour ladder when the squad reinvented itself in 2016.

He, Robert Gesink, and staffers like Mathieu Heijboer and Richard Plugge pulled the Netherlands’ team out of a cashless, winless void to the circumference of the grand tour circle at the close of the last decade.

Kruijswijk was within days of winning the 2016 Giro d’Italia and finished top-5 in the 2018 and 2019 Tours de France as he helped lead the team’s reemergence on the world stage.

He was on the scene and bothering grand tour podiums when Roglič had only just put down his skis and Vingegaard was packing fish to fund riding bikes.

But with the rise of riders like Vingegaard, Remco Evenepoel, and Tadej Pogačar, veterans like Kruijswijk have been squeezed into the shadows.

So what now for the Dutch climber of a different generation?

‘I still have something to prove’

Vingegaard and Roglič top the team sheets for Jumbo-Visma’s biggest tours and will do some time yet. Wilco Kelderman comes on in 2023 and adds further stage-race firepower to a roster deep enough to fill two team busses.

The crash-prone Kruijswijk told AD he knows his Tour de France leader’s ship has sailed, but he’s keeping a candle burning for an outsider shot at the Vuelta or Giro.

“I still have something to prove to myself,” he said.

And if that leadership doesn’t come his way, Kruijswijk isn’t going anywhere just yet. He’s out of contract next winter but confident he’s got more to give his Jumbo crew.

“I haven’t thought about retirement for a moment,” Kruijswijk said.

“I have shown in recent years that I have what it takes to be of great value to the team, even at this age. Next year I will talk to the team management. Then hear what they think about it, but if it’s up to me I’ll be cycling at the highest level for at least three more years.”