“The first ten days were really super. I am very proud of that. 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.”
Still, the team overcame the setbacks again and again: especially in the competitiveness shown by Wilco Kelderman. Boven had plenty of complimentary things to say about the youngster, who finished the Giro with a third in the youth classification. Wilco rode a very good Giro. He really proved himself but also put in a lot of work for the team. Just as we had agreed, he was always facilitating for Robert. Partly on account of the weather, I think it was a very unique first Giro for him. I believe he learned a lot from the guys and that he has a very bright future.
Kelderman on his first Giro: “I rode into Brescia with mixed feelings. As a team, we did not achieve our goal: a top classification. We really did our best and gave it our all, but it was not meant to be. 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.”
Maarten Tjallingi echoed Boven’s sentiments about the group. “I think that we really grew as a team. Naturally, we’re left with a bitter aftertaste 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.
Steven Kruijswijk was in total agreement. “We supported each other in the most difficult moments: both on and off the bike. Together we got through it all. I managed a top ten here myself but had no problems riding in support of Robert. I knew that coming in and was happy to do so. I was not entirely super myself and fell short of my own expectations, but I felt that we rode very well as a team.
96th Giro d´Italia (WT)
1 Vicenzo Nibali
17 Wilco Kelderman +20’18”
26 Steven Kruijswijk +42’36”
31 Juanma Garate +58’21”
48 Stef Clement +1:38’38”
63 Paul Martens +2:04’24”
131 Maarten Tjallingii +3:21’02”